Air cargo movement via the Cochin International Airport here has been curtailed, which affects the exports of mostly perishable items such as vegetables and fruits. The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) restricted the operation of foreign chartered, non-scheduled freight services to six airports in the country.
There were no airports in Kerala being allowed to handle special cargo flights or ad hoc flights to move cargo with effect from October 1, following the DGCA order, said airport sources. The special cargo flight services will be available only from Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bengaluru and Hyderabad.
Most of the cargo operations via Kochi was handled till now by foreign airlines, especially those from the Middle East as most of the export items were headed for markets in those countries. The bulk of the cargo comprised fruits and vegetables as well as seasonal items.
While the airport handled between 100 and 150 tonnes of cargo per day during the pre-COVID days, the volume came down significantly after the pandemic restrictions came into effect. But with easing of business activities in several countries, cargo volumes were picking up when the new restrictions have come into effect.