New Delhi, Apr 12 (PTI) An Indian express industry body have favoured re-evaluation of a policy to allow domestic cargo airlines offer operations in foreign countries to create a level playing field with international cargo operators.

Domestic cargo airlines have a share of Rs 5,000 crore in the overall express industry in India.

The express industry, of which cargo airlines are key constituents, has also sought ease in regulations for air cargo infrastructure to flourish, as development and usage of airport facility is posing a challenge for the industry.

“While the domestic express industry is seeing a healthy growth, we want more cargo airlines to operate in the market. Re-evaluation of the policy to allow them to offer international operations will not only bring more operators but give us a level playing field with respect to international cargo operators,” the COO of Express Industry Council of India, Vijay Kumar, said.

At present, the notable player in domestic cargo airlines is Blue Dart Express.

Kumar said this during the launch of Indian Express Industry-2018 report, which called for time-bound approval from agencies such as Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS) for commissioning of cargo and express terminals.

The report said the domestic express industry, one of the fastest growing markets globally with an annual growth rate of 15 per cent, has become a Rs 22,000 crore industry.

Regulations, however, continue to pose a hurdle for the industry, it said.

One of them is that the lease period is limited to 10 years. Express operators contended that since they need to make significant amount of investments to develop infrastructure, the lease term should be increased to 30 years.

Other issues such as delay in customs approval to operate facilities and insufficient number of CISF personnel to man cargo terminals, were flagged by the report.

Significantly, the report has sought a policy change to allow foreign cargo airlines to self-handle security functions and obtain regulated agent certification.

This could facilitate ease of doing business for the express operators having cargo airlines and lead to development of the air infrastructure and air express segment, the report said.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.