Blue Dart gets accolades

News Clip : Today's traveller news Wire, Mumbai

26th March, 2008.

Newswire Bureau Blue Dart Express Limited was recently awarded the 'Emerging Air Cargo Integrator of the Year' at Air Cargo India 2008. The company was recently also felicitated with 'Cargo Operator of the Year (Cargo Airline)' award, presented at the Express, Logistics and Supply Chain Conclave.

The express courier and package distribution company was recognised as the winner for the pioneering effort it took more than a decade ago and set up India's first dedicated cargo aviation infrastructure, for constantly innovating to stay ahead of the curve and for being strategically positioned today as the unrivalled leader in the domestic organised air express space with a market share of 41.7 per cent.

Headquartered at Chennai, the company operates a fleet of seven aircraft, consisting of four B737 and three B757 freighters. It has its own maintenance and ground-handling capability, and is the first private carrrier to have received permission to undertake its own D-Checks. The carrier operates at night, connecting the seven major metros of Chennai, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Delhi, Hyderabad, Bangalore and Kolkata with 60 route connections, and offering a payload of 300 tonnes each night.

In order to improve utilisation of its aircraft, which fly only at night, Blue Dart Aviation, a subsidiary of Blue Dart Express, is exploring options to start scheduled overseas operations. According to Anil Khanna, Managing Director, Blue Dart Express, the company was working closely with DHL global aviation group to see whether its aircraft could be leveraged for international operations. DHL, the European logistics giant, has a controlling stake in the company and operations of the two are synchronised.

Meanwhile, the company has appointed Tulsi Mirchandaney as the organisation's new Managing Director. She was earlier Senior Vice-PresidentbMarketing and Projects and has taken over this new responsibility from Niteen Gupte.

Not new to Blue Dart's aviation operations, Tulsi joined the company in 1995 to create and market the air cargo products for the launch of India's first express airline, and was involved in route planning and space allocation. As the company's new Managing Director, she will now be the Accountable Manager of the organisation.

Tulsi has an MBA degree in lnternational Aviation from Concordia University, Montreal, Canada, and has presented two research papers in Aviation. She will now be based at Blue Dart Aviation's head office at Chennai.

In another move, Blue Dart is all set to add new cargo facilities and expand at existing ones at major airports to cut down on turnaround time for loading and unloading cargo and courier. The company is setting up a 1,000 sq m temporary facility at Hyderabad airport at a cost of Rs 20-25 crore, which would be operational by the end of this month. This would be increased to about 2,500 sq m in the coming months.

The company currently has a 1,500 sq m facility at HAL Bangalore International Airport and is constructing a bigger facility of 9,500 sq m at Bangalore International Airport Ltd (BIAL), which is scheduled to replace HAL. The new facility, which would be shared by DHL, would be set up at a cost of Rs 65 crore and would be operational next month. The company is expecting the approval for expansion of its 2,500 sq m facility at Delhi airport very soon and would increase the space to about 4,400 sq m.

Blue Dart is also setting up 32 warehouses and transit hubs this year at an investment of Rs 25-30 crore. The few locations that have been identified are Hyderabad, Nagpul, Vizag, Pondicherry and some areas in Mumbai and Delhi.

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