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Tuesday, May 14, 2002

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`Singapore Airlines top export carrier from Chennai'

Nina Varghese

CHENNAI, May 13

SINGAPORE Airlines has topped the list of airlines which uplifted cargo from Chennai airport from April 2001 to March 2002, according to a first-time survey by the Air Cargo Agents Association of India (ACAAI), Southern Regional Council.

A total of 22 airlines uplift cargo from Chennai. Of this, two airlines - Sabena and Swissair - stopped operations during the period under review. The survey, based on figures from the Cargo Facilitation Committee (CAFAC) states that during this period Singapore Airlines carried 9,257.66 tonnes of export cargo, followed by Lufthansa with 8,318.11 tonnes and Air France in the third place with 5,358.13 tonnes. In the fourth and fifth place respectively are Alitalia and Air India.

The total exports uplifted for the period was 57,138 tonnes as against 57,773 tonnes during the 2000- 2001 (according to the Airport Authority of India Web site). Though there was a 16.34 per cent decline in exports in October 2001 - immediately after September 11 attacks — cargo volumes picked up in the following months.

Garments and leather goods are the two major items exported out of Chennai. During the year, 2,22,44.65 tonnes of garments and 14,117.28 tonnes were exported. In October, garment exports took a beating with exports dropping to 1,301.05 tonnes, as against the 1,727.79 tonnes in September. The exports in this segment subsequently picked up to 2,838.13 in March 2002. Export of leather goods dropped to 1,182.67 tonnes in October from 1,212.94 tonnes in September and had not touched this mark till the end of the year.

During the year, imports grew from 34,493 tonnes in 2000-2001 to 38,285 tonnes from April 2001 to March 2002. During this period, 27 airlines operated out of Chennai with Lufthansa leading the list. Lufthansa, which has both freighters and three line flights from this station, carried 7,824.79 tonnes, followed by Singapore Airlines at 6,128 tonnes and Air France at 3,597 tonnes.

A look at the figures after September 11 reveals that imports went up in October to 3,076.85 tonnes from 2,711.71 tonnes in September. Imports have gone up after that to 4,136.10 tonnes in March 2002.

The commodity-wise break up of the import cargo reveals that the single largest item is unaccompanied baggage, which alone accounts for 5,448.83 tonnes. The other items are miscellaneous cargo at 10,195.30 tonnes, machines and spare at 6,154 tonnes and electrical goods at 6,005.56 tonnes.

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