Even as flight services remain suspended due to lockdown, as many as 465 flights have been operated under Lifeline Udan to transport essential medical cargo to all parts of the country including remote and hilly areas to support India’s war against COVID-19.
Air India, Alliance Air, IAF and private carriers played a major role during the crisis, covering an aerial distance of 4,51,038 km and delivering cargo weighing 835.94 tonnes.
An official release said Helicopter services including Pawan Hans Ltd have been operating in Jammu and Kashmir, Ladakh, Islands and North East region transporting critical medical cargo and patients. Pawan Hans have carried 2.27 tonnes of cargo covering a distance of 7,729 kms. Special focus has been on the North East Region, island territories and the hill states. Air India and IAF collaborated primarily for Jammu and Kashmir, Ladakh, North-East and other island regions.
Domestic Cargo Operators SpiceJet, Blue Dart, Indigo and Vistara are operating cargo flights on a commercial basis. Spicejet operated 819 cargo flights covering a distance of 13,83,854 km and carrying 5,946 tonnes of cargo. Out of these, 294 were international cargo flights. Blue Dart operated 278 cargo flights covering a distance of 3,09,272 km and carrying 4,683 tonnes of cargo. Out of these, 14 were international cargo flights. Indigo has operated 95 cargo flights covering a distance of 1,59,158 km and carrying around 470 tonnes of cargo and including 38 international flights. This also includes medical supplies carried free of cost for the government.
Vistara has operated 23 cargo flights covering a distance of 32,321 km and carrying around 150 tonnes of cargo.
A cargo air-bridge was established with East Asia for transportation of pharmaceuticals, medical equipment and Covid-19 relief material. The quantity of medical cargo brought in by Air India is 972 tonnes. Blue Dart has uplifted medical supplies of around 114 tonnes from Guangzhou and Shanghai and 24 tonnes from Hong Kong, starting 14th April upto 5th May 2020. Spicejet has also uplifted 204 tonnes of medical supplies from Shanghai and Guangzhou upto 5th May 2020 and 16 tonnes medical supplies from Hong Kong and Singapore upto 5th May 2020.