As the focus of the aviation sector shifts to transport of essential medical supplies, Air India carried the first bulk consignment of face masks and medical equipment from Mumbai to New Delhi on March 26.

Air India operated its Boeing 787 Dreamliner, which landed in Delhi at 4 pm on Thursday, with 6.5 tonnes of cargo, according to the airline’s spokesperson. The airline has only passenger aircraft in its fleet and carries cargo in the aircraft’s belly which has limited capacity as compared to freight aircraft.

Keku Gazder, CEO of AAI Cargo Logistics and Allied Services (AAICLAS) said to the media, “We are co-ordinating with freight operators, government agencies, pharmaceutical companies, passenger airlines and airports to ensure seamless movement of medicines and medical equipment across the country.”

The Airports Authority of India (AAI) subsidiary is extending support to the Ministry of Civil Aviation for crucial cargo services.

Blue Dart freighters flew on the Chennai-Bengaluru as well as Mumbai-Kolkata-Delhi routes with vital pharmaceutical and medical equipment, the company announced on its Facebook page.

Although it is not clear as to what was the size of freight carried, but critical pharma/medical equipment which is already in custody and within the company’s network was prioritised for delivery.

A previous Facebook post also says that in one instance earlier this week, a critical coronavirus report machine was delivered in a tier II city by the freighter.

Tulsi N Mirchandaney, Managing Director at Blue Dart Aviation, said there has been a fall in loads due to various reasons.

“As many businesses have suspended operations and others have found it difficult to bring their loads to airports, there has been a drop in demand. The government is working on facilitating country-wide distribution of relief materials and we are trying to support them with our scheduled and charter operations,” Mirchandaney informed the media.


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