Continental Airlines (CO) Cargo has made a major impact on the Indian export airfreight market, following the introduction of its first online services from Delhi to Newark in November 2005.

In the first month of operation, traffic grew 10-fold to 217,000 kgs compared to the very limited share of the market which Continental had previously commanded as an offline carrier.

Continental now operates daily B777 passenger aircraft on the route. The combination of long flight sector (14 hours) and heavy passenger and baggage loads mean that cargo capacity is already filled on most flights.

Continental’s cargo GSSA for India is Global Aviation Services, appointed by the airline in 2002 when it still operated offline. Previously, all CO cargo was flown to London on interline partners, for transfer onto CO flights from London Gatwick. Explains Global’s Director - Strategic Planning & Business Development, Prabodh Tipnis, “To be sure of obtaining first sector capacity, and to alleviate transfer problems in London, we restricted our marketing effort to attracting small shipments.

“Now CO is an online carrier, we have total control over the service from Delhi and can accept much larger shipments and pieces with total confidence. The business we are winning at present is just from the Delhi market. If we have more capacity to sell, we can easily draw cargo in from other Indian regional markets via our express road feeder network.”

Adds Continental Airlines’ Regional Manager Cargo, Northern Europe and Western Asia, Jennifer Smith: “We have been delighted with the immediate and enthusiastic take-up of our new, online product in the Indian market. The only limitation seems to be the cargo space on our flights, and this gives us great confidence in the prospects for any future increase in our services or capacity.”