India a challenging market for Swiss

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Swiss International Airlines Boeing 777-300ER

India is a challenging market, with a lot of competition, particularly from Middle Eastern carriers, Swiss WorldCargo’s head of cargo Africa, Middle East & India, Shankar Iyer tells Air Cargo Week (ACW).

Iyer tells ACW: “India is a highly price conscious market, which demands high service with low costs. One of the main challenges is the competition of Middle Eastern carriers, which offer excellent connectivity and services in India.”

“We expect a subdued business environment especially westbound trade, barring the fact that speed of certain transactions can be a challenge which coupled with crippling infrastructure leads to scalability issues.”

Iyer is expecting a challenging year in 2016, having experienced a minor dip in exports in 2015. “Indian exports did shrink marginally by value terms in 2015 due to reduced global demand especially from Europe and the USA. The first two months of the year [2016] business was rather stable.”

For 2016, Iyer says: “All in all, we expect a price driven, tough, challenging year. We foresee the demand to reach its peak in the months of March and April.”

The Indian government has been working on improving the operating environment for the airfreight industry, something which Iyer is happy about. “We believe that the recent government efforts to clear fast track projects, e-processing in most areas of business and the ambitious ‘Make in India’ campaign will help boost exports in Q4 of 2016.”

Over the past decade, Indian exports have changed significantly. Iyer says: “Over the last decade, export commodities have migrated from garments, leather goods and handicrafts to engineering goods, auto parts, spares, chemicals, pharmaceutical, aerospace etc. Goods are constantly catching up on value chain.”