GMR-led Delhi International Airport Ltd (DIAL) informed that it has been operating the cargo terminal and other associated facilities to ensure the delivery of healthcare and medical supplies, amid the nationwide lockdown to constrain the impact of the novel coronavirus.
“Cargo terminal and associated facilities at Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) have been operating in full swing to support the Government of India in handling and processing essential commodities, especially healthcare and medical supplies,” DIAL authorities said in a release.
Currently, DIAL is handling 20-22 cargo flights per day (including non-scheduled operations), with freighters arriving from destinations like Doha, Paris, Hong Kong, Shenzhen, Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Incheon.
The freighters have been bringing in essential supplies such as masks, medicines, medical equipment and test kits from across the world.
“Delhi’s air cargo supply chain has geared up during this lockdown period for handling a significant number of cargo freighters that are bringing essential supplies like masks, medicines, medical equipment, test kits, reagents and other supplies,” the release added.
In addition to the international cargo flights, DIAL has witnessed 3-4 chartered aircraft movements per day for handling medical equipment and relief material to and from Patna, Varanasi, Guwahati, Nagpur and Vadodra.
The number is expected to increase to 8-10 flights per day.
CEO of DIAL Videh Kumar Jaipuriar informed, “The cargo terminal operators and ground handling team are working tirelessly to manage the operations following all guidelines of social distancing, sanitisation and health precautions. Besides, additional warehouse space is being created at the Delhi airport for holding import cargo.”
“We are also pursuing with Customs for adequate staff at cargo terminals for faster clearance of goods as more such movements are planned in the coming days. We have also sought for support from Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) for getting special permissions for movement of trucks to and from the airport to carry essential goods,” said Jaipuriar.
Last week, DIAL announced it is assessing post-lockdown domestic air traffic demand along with the airlines and evaluating if consolidation of terminals is required.
“DIAL is assessing the quantum of domestic demand along with the airlines, once the suspension of operations is lifted. Various options, including the potential of consolidating terminal operations, are being evaluated depending on the airline requirements as well as government notifications/advisories that may be issued from time to time,” it said in a statement.
“Also, as of now, there are no immediate plans to defer any ongoing expansion works,” it added.
India has imposed a 40-day nationwide lockdown till May 03 to curb the COVID-19 outbreak. Consequently, all domestic and international commercial passenger flights have been suspended for the time period. However, cargo flights, offshore helicopter operations, medical evacuation flights and special flights permitted by MoCA under the Lifeline UDAN initiative are permitted to operate.
Besides, aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has permitted cargo operations using existing passenger category aircraft subject to specific guidelines issued by the regulator.