Changi Airport is set to see more cargo capacity between Singapore and India as SpiceJet has launched two weekly services between the city state and three Indian cities, including Bangalore, Chennai and Mumbai.
A B737F, operated by its cargo arm SpiceXpress, flew in from Chennai on 20 February, and the new scheduled services is expected to add much needed capacity.
This is a welcome development for Singapore’s air hub particularly as it has been in talks with the Indian carrier for several years to become a partner airline. Changi said the carrier had operated over 230 charter flights (freighter and cargo-only pax) from April to December last year to help transport humanitarian goods, such as medical supplies and perishables, between the two countries. The airline recently drafted two wide-body planes—B767 and A330—to its cargo fleet, to meet the demand for long-haul routes to Europe and North America.
“CAG has been engaging SpiceJet for several years to mount scheduled services to Singapore, hence we are pleased to welcome SpiceJet to Changi’s family of airlines,” Lim Ching Kiat, CAG’s managing director of air hub development.
“In these challenging times when air cargo capacity is constrained, the introduction of SpiceJet’s freighter service is much welcomed,” he added.
Changi Airport, much like other air hubs, had to endure the previous year which succumbed to the fall in passenger traffic due to coronavirus-related measures across the globe.
Much of the industry had to re-evaluate resources to accommodate cargo and offset the fall in demand, and the air hub said it has been working closely with airline partners on the Singapore-India route to ensure that supply chains are kept open.
India was Changi Airport’s sixth largest air cargo market in 2020, with cargo tonnage reaching 75,000 tonnes for the year. Aside from flag carrier Singapore Airlines, cargo carriers AeroLogic, FedEx Express, and Turkish Cargo operate scheduled freighters to Changi Airport, whilst Emirates, IndiGo, and Sri Lankan Airlines have operated cargo-only passenger flights between India and Singapore.
SpiceJet, which emerged as India’s largest air cargo operator by fleet and cargo carriage during the pandemic, according to CAPA, said the introduction of the new service would help its cargo arm build its network in Southeast Asia, describing Singapore as a springboard into the European and Australian markets.
Changi Airport said weekly cargo flights tripled to more than 950 in the first week of February compared to the same period in 2019, connecting the air hub to around 70 cities via cargo flights.