Under ‘Lifeline UDAN’ initiative of Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA), 452 cargo flights have been operated until May 04 across the country including to remote and hilly areas, covering a distance of 4,41,564 km and carrying approximately 824.44 tonnes of medical supplies.
The 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.
State-run Air India and Air Alliance have operated the largest number of flights under Lifeline UDAN– 272.
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 service provider Pawan Hans Ltd have also been operating in J&K, Ladakh and North East region transporting critical medical cargo and patients. Till May 04, Pawan Hans have carried 2.27 tonnes of cargo covering a distance of 7,729 kms.
Domestic Cargo Operators SpiceJet, Blue Dart, Indigo and Vistara are operating cargo flights on a commercial basis.
Low-cost carrier, SpiceJet operated 796 cargo flights during March 24 to May 04 covering a distance of 13,61,141 km and carrying 5,817 tonnes of cargo. Out of these, 290 were international cargo flights.
Express transportation and distribution company, Blue Dart operated 266 cargo flights covering a distance of 2, 94, 928 km and carrying 4,522 tonnes of cargo from March 25 to May 04. Out of these, 13 were international cargo flights.
Budget-carrier, Indigo has operated 90 cargo flights during April 3 to May 04 covering a distance of 1, 50, 803 km and carrying around 444 tonnes of cargo and including 34 international flights. This also includes medical supplies carried free of cost for the government.
Full-service carrier, Vistara has operated 22 cargo flights during April 19 to May 04 covering a distance of 30,614 km and carrying around 144 tonnes of cargo.
On the International front, an air-bridge has been established with East Asia for transportation of pharmaceuticals, medical equipment and COVID-19 relief material, with effect from April 4. The quantity of medical cargo brought in by flag-carrier Air India counts to 956 tonnes.
In addition, Blue Dart has airlifted medical supplies of around 114 tonnes from Guangzhou and Shanghai, and 24 tonnes from Hong Kong, since April 14 upto May 04.
SpiceJet has also uplifted 204 tonnes of medical supplies from Shanghai and Guangzhou, along with 16 tonnes medical supplies from Hong Kong and Singapore, until May 04.