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Rainer Muller and Mrs. Vandana Agarwal guest speaker at ACI as an Economic Advisor for Indias Ministry of Civil AviationMUMBAI: February 21, 2018. Saudia Cargo executive director Commercial Rainer Muller said his attendance at Air Cargo India in Mumbai this week provided an opportunity to share insights on many issues and challenges that affect the air cargo industry. 

Saudi Arabia is the fourth largest market in the world for Indian exports after China, the U.S. and UAE. Bilateral trade was valued at US$25 billion in 2016-17 with major exports from India of fruits, vegetables, meat, fish, basmati rice, textiles and machinery, while imports from the Kingdom included organic and inorganic chemicals, scrap metal, leather, precious metals and oil.

"ACI 2018 gave us the opportunity to connect with our peers, share experiences with each other and discuss at length possible solutions for the challenges that we face as well as finding solutions for the complexity and the dynamics of the Indian market," explained Muller.

"Technology is changing the way we think, work and do business. Through forums such as this, we identify, discuss and update our skills and find solutions for common problems," he added.

According to Airports Authority of India (AAI) data, the country's international airfreight traffic is expected to reach 11.4 million tonnes by 2032 with import and export volumes being the key drivers.

The AAI says it expects to spend US$2.71 billion on airport development in the next five years with US$3.41 billion for brownfield expansion in Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad and Bengaluru by private operators, and some US$3.25 billion for greenfield sites.

India's civil aviation industry has emerged as one of the fastest growing industries in the country during the last three years and is expected to become the world's largest domestic civil aviation market in the next 10 to 15 years, says Jayant Sinha India's Minister of State for Civil Aviation.

Data from the country's Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion says foreign direct investment in airfreight and air transport in general rose to US$1.59 billion between April 2000 and September 2017.

Morgan Stanley forecasts India's airports sector will receive investments of US$25 billion in the next decade as traffic rises 13 percent. Domestic air traffic rose 17.69 per cent year-on-year in December 2017 according to the country's Directorate General of Civil Aviation. About 11.24 million passengers flew in December 2017, up from 9.55 million a year earlier.

With India-based airlines expected to buy 2,100 aircraft in the next 20 years at a cost of US$290 billion, the government says it is encouraging sector stakeholders to collaborate with policy makers "to implement efficient and rational decisions" that would boost India's civil aviation industry to become the third-largest aviation market by 2025.

Pictured: Saudia Cargo executive director Commercial Rainer Muller with Mrs. Vandana Agarwal, ACI guest speaker as an Economic Advisor for India's Ministry of Civil Aviation.

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