India’s Ministry of Civil Aviation announced that it is taking a number of steps to add significant cargo capacity in the country’s fight against Covid-19. The government said that it has set up a "cargo air-bridge" between India and China for the transportation of critical medical supplies between the two countries. Air India will operate its first cargo flight from Delhi to Shanghai on April 5.
The Centre said that under the Lifeline Udan initiative, 107 flights have transported over 138 tonnes of medical supplies across the country till April 3. Moreover, domestic cargo operators Blue Dart, Spicejet and Indigo are operating cargo flights on commercial basis. Spicejet operated 153 cargo flights from 24 March-3 April carrying 1213.64 tonnes of cargo. Out of these, 44 were international cargo flights. Blue Dart operated 48 domestic cargo flights carrying 702.43 tonnes of cargo from March 25 to April 3. Indigo has also operated five cargo flights on April 3 carrying 2.33 tonnes of cargo.
“The cargo delivered to various parts of the country includes COVID-19 related reagents, enzymes, medical equipment, testing kits & PPE, masks, gloves and other accessories apart from cargo requisitioned by governments of state and union territories and postal packets,” the ministry said in a statement.
The Lifeline Udan flights connect hubs in locations like Guwahati, Dibrugarh, Agartala, Aizwal, Dimapur, Imphal, Coimbatore, Trivandrum, Bhubaneswar, Raipur, Ranchi, Port Blair and Goa. Special focus has been given to the northeast region, island territories and the hill states.
The ministry, Air India and IAF have collaborated closely for last mile deliveries to Ladakh, Dimapur, Imphal, Guwahati and Port Blair.