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Turkish firm investing over $100 mn on Mumbai, Delhi airports

Sunday January 30, 2011 12:28:11 PM, Neelam Mathews, IANS

Istanbul: With India's air cargo and passenger traffic growing at a frantic pace and efficiency and security becoming a major concern, a Turkish firm is investing $100 million by 2015 in ground handling and equipment at Delhi and Mumbai airports.

Celebi Holdings has already spent $35 million on construction and $12 million towards purchase of equipment and security upgrade at Delhi International Airport Ltd's (DIAL) 70,000-sq mts cargo facility expected to be completed by early next year.

In addition it has a holding fee of $25 million deposited with DIAL.

"It is good that India is looking seriously at its cargo infrastructure upgrade. India exports pharmaceuticals, for instance, in a big way. Lack of facilities will hold up growth," says Canan Celebioglu Tokgoz, vice chairman of the Turkish company.

Celebi, a 53-year old entity and one of the top three cargo handlers in Frankfurt, says an upgrade of the facility in Delhi may be posing congestion problems for clients, but that will go away once the work is over.

"We can safely say this facility is the safest cargo facility in India, following our investments in security as soon as we moved in," Cemil Erman, president cargo for the company, told this journalist during a visit here.

Celebi's Delhi cargo terminal Licence includes developing, modernising, financing and operating the existing terminal for 25 years and ground handling includes ramp services, baggage handling, aircraft cleaning, fuel liaison, operation services and supervision.

It is also the only company at Delhi airport that can handle the wide-bodied four-engine Airbus A-380 for which it has imported equipment worth around $2 million to move baggage and cargo and push-back equipment, added Can Çelebioglu, chairman of Celebi Holdings.

Indira Gandhi International Airport is India's biggest in terms of passenger numbers and the second-largest in terms of cargo traffic after Mumbai, with 430,000 tonnes of cargo handled in 2008, projected to reach one million tonnes within the next five years.

As Celebi awaits a new set of regulations on use of standardised equipment at airports, it has already introduced electrical baggage tractors costing $60,000 each, as strict Indian laws now call for environment-friendly green equipment.

Celebi serves Turkey's 25 airports, covering 99.6 percent of passenger traffic in the country. It also has a ground handling services contract for the Budapest Ferihegy International Airport in Hungary.

The company's joint venture in Mumbai, CelebiNAS, serves 16 carriers, of which only one -- Kingfisher Airlines -- is a domestic carrier. The venture has a market share of 30 percent at Mumbai's Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport.

"Soon domestic airlines will see the logic of outsourcing and low cost airlines like IndiGo, looking at reducing costs, will drive the sector," says Çelebioglu.

In the past 18 months, CelebiNAS has reached ground handling services capacity of 17,000 domestic passengers, 1,000 domestic cargo flights, 7,100 international flights and 6,000 general aviation flights.

With Mumbai's second airport at Navi Mumbai now announced, Celebi expects to participate there as well as cargo operations may move to the Greenfield airport once it is ready in the stipulated three-and-a-half years.

Delhi airport is one of the two most heavily trafficked airports in India with about 23 million passengers and 220,000 flights a year. The traffic is expected to go up to 37 million passengers a year by 2012 and 66 million a year by 2021.

Çelebi says it will be serving about half of all international flight traffic moving in and out of Delhi and Mumbai and is looking at opportunities to enter an airport in the south as well.

(Neelam Mathews can be reached at and








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