No subcontinent is as varied as India. A country of contrasts. While many Europeans associate India even today spontaneously with poverty and the Third World, the country develops bit by bit to one of the most important commercial states of the world. And the ambitious Indian market has also come to Europe long ago.
Former Bombay bears the official name Mumbai since 1995. As a capital of the federal state of Maharashtra, Mumbai is an important economic- and industrial center and is head office for the largest part of the Indian corporations. Over the international airport of Chhatrapati Shivaji and both harbors Mumbai Port and Nhava Sheva, 40 percent of the Indian foreign trade are transacted.
The most important export markets of India are the EU, the USA, the United Arab Emirates and China. Important export goods are machines and hardware, chemical and pharmaceutical products as well as textiles and clothing. However, clearly outweighing the foreign trade are, for example, oil and oil products, electrotechnical products and machines from the EU, China, Saudi Arabia or the USA. The aviation branch has long since discovered the booming market for itself. Lufthansa Cargo has also tapped the potentials and with Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Chennai and Kolkata, flies into the most important centers in the country. Weekly in Mumbai, four freighters ex Frankfurt land besides the daily in- coming belly cargo in the passenger planes. Thereby, more than 200 tons of cargo is handled by the eight- person team in Mumbai. The competition in the Indian market is huge: Beside the major players of the aerial cargo industry, Lufthansa also competes with Indian carriers like Air India, Jet Airways or Kingfisher. These Airlines fly directly with their belly- capacities to the biggest EU markets and are building up their route networks. However, "competition animates the business", according to Zarir Kheshwala, Western India Manager- Lufthansa Cargo, Mumbai. "The daily business is diverse, exciting and puts us every day before new challenges", Kheshwala tells us looking back on his almost ten-year Lufthansa Cargo term of office in Mumbai.
No wunder. Mumbai officially counts 16 million registered inhabitants; the dark figure lies with almost 20 million people, nevertheless, far higher. A total of 21 equally valid languages are in interaction daily with each other, whereby English is the most important language in the political and economic life. Major world religions are also represented here and thus Hindus live together within a small geographic area with Muslims, Christians, Sikhs and other religions. The streets are overcrowded and with the horn as the most important instrument in the car, one makes his way on the streets without lanes. Safety belts or other safety measures remain for the most part non-essentials. This makes clear, why Mumbai’s inhabitants affectionately call their town affectionately "the metropolis of the structured chaos".
During the last ten years the country has been marked by a continuous economic growth. It points to secure legal and economic basic conditions and distinguishes itself by an increasing good-situated middle class. Forecasts for 2025 describe here an increased growth rate of approximately 250 million currently upwards to 400 million people. Furthermore one finds in India a pronounced entrepreneurship - the high niveau of the English language, the number of certified professional forces particularly in the area of the information technology and communication technology as well as the presence of industries with need to expand make the country an interesting investment- and trading partner and as such an important fulcrum and pivot for the air traffic.
However, ambitious India also shows some weak points, as for example defective infrastructure, different service levels or missing punctuality management within logistic hubs. In addition, the security situation remains tense. Review: In November, 2008 heavy terrorist attacks shake numerous towns of India. Particularly the attacks in Mumbai which demand more than 160 deaths as well as about 300 injured persons, stand out. For the first time the infringements are directed at selected hotels and restaurants as well as the railway station of Mumbai which are often frequented by foreign tourists and businessmen.
According to Kheshwala, "the November attacks have left their tracks in the heads of the people ". But, nevertheless, the Cargo Lufthanseat looks forward optimistically to the future of his town: "The Gateway of India is a historical monument and the starting point for many tourists for sight-seeing tours through town and environs and thus emphasizes Mumbais role as an international commercial center". And, with this, one thing remains clear: rich and poor, progress and standstill - this duality will further shape the country on its path of robust growth.