Under ‘Lifeline UDAN’ initiative of Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA), 247 cargo flights have operated until April 15 across the country including to remote and hilly areas, covering a distance of 2,45,293 kms and carrying over 418 tonnes of medical supplies.
“MoCA core group was formed with important stakeholders for undertaking Lifeline UDAN initiative to transport essential medical cargo across the country to support India’s war against COVID-19. Correspondingly, hub and spoke lifeline services were started from March 26,” said Rajeev Jain, ADG (Media) for MoCA.
State-run Air India and Air Alliance have operated the largest number of flights under Lifeline UDAN– 154.
Air India, Alliance Air, IAF and private carriers are operating flights to deliver essential items including medical supplies with special focus on the Northeast region, island territories and hill states. Air India and IAF collaborated primarily for J&K, Ladakh, Northeast and other island regions. Helicopter services including Pawan Hans Ltd have also been operating in J&K, Ladakh and North East region transporting critical medical cargo and patients.
On the International front, an air-bridge has been established with China for transportation of pharmaceuticals, medical equipment and COVID-19 relief material with effect from April 4. Air India brought 6.14 tonnes of medical equipment from Hong Kong on April 7 and also transported 8.85 tonnes of supplies to Colombo.
Under the Krishi Udan program launched by MoCA to assist farmers in transporting agricultural products, Air India operated the first flight between Mumbai and London on April 13 carrying 29 tonnes of fruits and vegetables and bringing back 15.6 tonnes of general cargo material. On April 15, the national carrier operated its second flight between Mumbai and Frankfurt carrying 27 tonnes of seasonal fruits and vegetables to the German city and returned with 10 tonnes of general cargo.