The air cargo facility launched at Tirupati airport in 2021 amid many expectations has failed to get momentum and is set to be closed soon. The facility had become a reality in August 2021 and it was expected to be a big hit as many items can be sent to required destinations within a few hours.
With the gradual increase of domestic passenger footfall, there was a hope that it could tap the cargo potential as well from the entire Rayalaseema region and Nellore districts which led the Airport Authority of India (AAI) to moot the facility. Accordingly, the old terminal was earmarked for the purpose and necessary arrangements are made.
Though it was used initially as a combination of passenger and cargo together, if the demand surges, there is a chance of even operating dedicated cargo flights. But, it evoked poor response and as of now on average less than 700 kg per day is moving from the cargo terminal ever since cargo operations have started on August 12, 2021, which is considered inadequate to continue the facility.
According to reliable sources, due to low bookings, it was decided to suspend services from the exclusive cargo terminal. Meanwhile, AAI is making alternate arrangements and seeking permission for very limited cargo from the passenger terminal itself. However, sources said that there may be a relook into reopening the exclusive cargo terminal if the bookings improve.
However, there was a view that lack of publicity is said to be one of the reasons for the poor response. The concept was said to have not gone into various sections in the region and many were not aware of such a facility.
Tirupati Chamber of Commerce president A Manjunath told The Hans India that the traders have found it difficult to go all the way to Renigunta and hand over the consignments. Instead, there should be one or two pickup points in the city itself which can facilitate even people to book their parcels easily.
Further, the poor road connectivity between Airport and Sri City was another hurdle in this regard. When RTC cargo services are now being provided at the doorstep, people naturally prefer them. Air cargo services should also be accessed easily, he felt.