VISAKHAPATNAM: SpiceJet launched its dedicated freighter cargo service from Visakhapatnam International Airport on Tuesday. When the inaugural Boeing 737 Spice Express landed here from Chennai, it was accorded a ‘water cannon’ welcome by airport ground staff. Visakhapatnam MP MVV Satyanarayana welcomed the flight in the presence of airport and airlines staff and representatives of Andhra Pradesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry Federation (APCCIF) and Andhra Pradesh Air Travellers’ Association (APATA). The flight later took off for Kolkata with full capacity cargo of 18 tonnes. A cake was also cut to mark the inauguration of the dedicated cargo flight from Visakhapatnam.
Launching the exclusive freight cargo service from Vizag connecting Chennai, Kolkata and Surat at cargo terminal here on Tuesday, Satyanarayana said it is a great moment for the city, which is witnessing rapid development. He said the cargo flight, scheduled to start on February 15, could not be started due to certain objections from the Navy. However, he said he spoke to Union Defence and Civil Aviation Ministers and AAI officials to secure the necessary permissions for the cargo flight.
He said Visakhapatnam has a good export potential, particularly in marine, pharmaceutical and agricultural sectors. The dedicated cargo flight will give a boost to exporters if Visakhapatnam and other neighbouring districts. The city likely to be come executive capital of the State has also helped to a major extent. Airport director Raja Kishore said shrimp and hatchery farmers used to depend on belly cargo space in the flights in the absence of a dedicated cargo flight.
It used to take 20 to 30 hours to reach the destination resulting in depletion of quality of the shrimp, he said, adding now they can transport cargo in three to four hours. A SpiceJet official said the response from exporters from Visakhapatnam for the dedicated cargo flight service was quite encouraging. He said of the total cargo in the inaugural flight, 15.5 tonne of cargo was from Chennai and 2.5 tonne cargo from the city.