GMR Hyderabad Air Cargo (GACAEL) handled the first international shipment of essential supplies carried by a freight-only passenger aircraft operated by Qatar Airways on April 02, 2020.
The Qatar Cargo QR 8311 airline from Doha landed at Hyderabad International Airport around 1.35 AM with medical and other essential supplies. The same aircraft departed for Doha at around 3 AM with uplifting 28 tonnes of essential supplies from Hyderabad. From Doha, the shipments would be connected to other corners of the globe.
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, when there is a dire need for movement of medical equipment and essential goods, India’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has permitted cargo operations using existing passenger category aircraft subject to specific guidelines issued by the regulator itself.
Reportedly, GHIAL has been categorised as one of the 6 national hubs under Government of India’s ‘Lifeline Udan’ initiative for operating medical cargo lifelines for the nation.
GMR Hyderabad International Airport Ltd (GHIAL) CEO SGK Kishore said, “We are happy that DGCA has proactively permitted cargo operations using passenger category aircraft. This has opened a window of opportunity for the aviation community to leverage the fleet of idled passenger aircraft to help meet the desperate need for air cargo capacity to carry essential medicines and other supplies across the globe during this moment of global crisis. Having successfully handled the first such flight to operate into Hyderabad under the new DGCA guidelines, we remain committed to supporting continued operations of our nation’s air cargo lifeline in the days to come.”
With around 200 dedicated and highly motivated personnel working in shifts, GHIAL together with GMR Hyderabad Air Cargo is working round the clock in close coordination with the customs, ground handlers, forwarders, customs house agents (CHAs), regulators, state police, and cargo trade associations to keep rolling the critical chain of essential supplies.
Currently, GMR Hyderabad Air Cargo is witnessing over 100 tonnes of export and import cargo daily, out of which more than 70% is pharma and other essential products. Every week, it is handling some 11 key scheduled freighters of Cathay Pacific Cargo, Turkish Cargo, Qatar Cargo, Lufthansa Cargo, SpiceXpress (domestic and international) and BlueDart along with some special cargo charters connecting Hyderabad with all major international destinations in the US, Europe, Middle East, Africa, and Far East. Based on fuel requirements, the freighters also uplift fuel from GHIAL fuel farm which is available 24×7.