HONG KONG- Attendees hit the ground running at today’s commencement of the fifth annual Cargo Facts Asia symposium, held in Hong Kong. Participants enjoyed both informative panel discussions, as well as ample opportunities to connect with the industry’s best and brightest.
The conference began with an exploration into the opportunities and challenges facing India’s air freight market, delivered in the form of an intimate fireside chat between Royal Media CEO, JJ Hornblass, and the managing director of Blue Dart Aviation Ltd., Tulsi Mirchandaney.
Since Blue Dart Aviation’s humble beginnings as an airfreight supplier twenty years ago, the Indian market has witnessed the emergence and exit of many players. Blue Dart, however, has continued its steady growth under Mirchandaney’s leadership. In 2004, DHL took a majority stake in the airline’s parent company, Blue Dart Express.
From its Chennai base, the Blue Dart Aviation launched with a single 737-200F, but has since upgraded to larger 757 freighters. Mirchandaney said that a shortage of landing slots at key hubs was the driving force behind the airline’s decision to introduce 757 freighters with larger payloads, as the aging 737s were phased out.
Now, for a few highlights from the fireside chat. In this first video, Mirchandaney describes three unique challenges facing the Indian air freight industry, and Blue Dart’s ability to overcome them: the high price of jet fuel, airport privatization, and regulatory constraints. Although such restraints make for a challenging environment, according to Mirchandaney and the operating performance of her company, “they are not insurmountable.”
We close with a glimpse into Mirchandaney’s hopeful outlook for both Blue Dart, and the airfreight industry in India.
Blue Dart Aviation’s achievements, led by Ms. Tulsi Mirchandaney, are especially impressive when considering what happened to other cargo airline who have tried to “climb the ladder” in the Indian market environment. I think it is also important to remember the contribution of Niteen Gupta .
Niteen Gupta had served in the Indian Air Force as a fighter pilot and commander in various positions. He retired following an impressive career at the rank of Group Captain and joined Blue Dart Aviation. Niteen Gupta was Blue Dart Aviation Managing Director & CEO for more than a decade when the airline operated B737-200 and then B757-200. Niteen Gupta retired in 2008 and passed away suddenly after massive heart attack on Nov 22nd 2015. Nineteen Gupta was highly professional in the industry and accomplished a lot in his life. His family and many friends miss him.