Between March 26 — 30, domestic airlines, cargo operators and Indian Air Force aircraft transported around 15.4 tonnes of medical equipment and related essential items needed for protection against and testing of corornavirus, on 62 special ‘Lifeline Udan’ flights across regions in India.
“Based on requirements received from various states on urgent basis, the senior officials of the ministry coordinate with supply agencies for providing required material which can be further transported to the desired destinations,” said a statement issued by the Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA).
On March 26, Air India and SpiceJet operated two flights each and on March 27, Air India again and regional arm Alliance Air operated 13 flights were.
On March 28, the number of special flights and cargo transportation increased with 18 flights including four from Air India, eight from Alliance Air and six from IndiGo.
On March 29, a total of 20 flights– four flights of Air India, 10 of Alliance Air and six of Indian Air Force were operated. One Alliance Air flight from Delhi to Kolkata carried shipments for Kolkata, Guwahati, Dibrugarh and Agartala while one IAF flight from Delhi to Chandigarh to Leh carried ICMR VTM kits and other essential cargo. Besides, on an Air India flight, Alliance Air transferred a shipment from Pune to Mumbai.
On March 30, cargo flights operated to carry medical supplies to southern, eastern and north east regions. An Air India A320 operated on Mumbai-Delhi-Bengaluru-Mumbai route and carried HLL consignment of 6593 kg, consignments of Kerala and Karnataka, consignment of Bipaps for Meghalaya and consignment of ministry of textiles for Coimbatore.
On March 30, an Indian Air Force flight also operated on Hindon-Dimapur-Imphal-Guwahati and carried consignments of HLL and ICMR kits to Shillong.
Private airlines such as Indigo, SpiceJet and Blue Dart are also operating flights on commercial basis. Among private airlines, GoAir has also expressed interest in ferrying medical supplies and other essential items.
Terming these lifeline services, the ministry is said to have created cargo hubs at Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, and Kolkata. Further, these hubs feed to spokes at Guwahati, Dibrugarh, Agartala, Aizwal, Imphal, Coimbatore and Thiruvananthapuram.
The agencies authorised by MoCA to carry shipment on these flights are asked to contact the concerned officials of their region and coordinate for timely delivery/receipt of shipments.