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
"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
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
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
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
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
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
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 email@example.com and