Budget airline SpiceJet operated the country’s first cargo-on-seat flight carrying vital supplies in the passenger cabin and belly space on Tuesday.
According to the airline, the flight carried 11 tonnes of vital supplies in passenger cabin and belly space from Delhi to Chennai.
SpiceJet said that it deployed a Boeing 737 NG aircraft after taking due approvals from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) and the Ministry of Civil Aviation.
The aircraft did four rotations – Delhi to Chennai (4:40 am-7: 35 am); Chennai to Surat (8:20 am-10:45 am); Surat to Chennai (11:10 am-13:05 pm); and Chennai to Mumbai (13:45 pm- 15:30 pm) ensuring that vital supplies are delivered in the shortest possible time.
The aircraft took off from Mumbai for Delhi at 16:10 pm.
“Since the lockdown began, we have carried more than 1,400 tons of cargo operating around 200 domestic and international cargo flights. Today, for the first time in the country, we used a passenger aircraft to transport cargo where in addition to the belly space the passenger cabin was used to safely carry essential supplies. “We have also put our five freighters to maximum use to transport cold chain medical supplies, medicines, medical devices for various state governments, medical and pharma companies,” SpiceJet Chairman Ajay Singh said in a release.
Special seat covers made from flame-proof material were used to cover the seats and the cargo on seat was secured with restraints, it said adding to ensure optimum utilisation of space, the overhead bin, were also used.
Earlier on April 3, SpiceJet has operated SG 7005 and SG 7051 flights carrying essential supplies from Mumbai to Abu Dhabi and Surat to Chennai.
On March 26, SpiceJet helped transport an emergency consignment of IR Thermometers, required to detect COVID-19, to Kolkata from Hong Kong.
On March 27, the airline carried hazmat suits to Coimbatore from Delhi to help local authorities replicate and start local manufacturing.
SpiceJet has also been operating special cargo flights to Abu Dhabi, Kuwait and other countries taking fresh fruits and vegetables and helping Indian farmers maintain continuity of their supply chains.
SpiceJet’s dedicated cargo arm, SpiceXpress has been regularly transporting surgical supplies, sanitisers, face masks, among others and providing doorstep deliveries of essential supplies, medicines and medical equipment in Bengaluru, Patna, Chennai, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Visakhapatnam, Srinagar, Thiruvananthapuram, Guwahati, Jammu, Lucknow among other cities. With utilising SpiceXpress fleet, SpiceJet has transported over 4000 Coronavirus Rapid Test Kits to Kozhikode from Mumbai.