Domestic airlines, cargo operators transport over 15 tons of medical supplies


File photo of an Air India aircraft.

File photo of an Air India aircraft.

Amid the lockdown imposed to help curb the spread of coronavirus, domestic airlines and cargo operators along with the Indian Air Force have transported 15.4 tons of medical supplies in 62 flights between March 26 and March 30, said Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri on Tuesday.

“The cargo essentially included COVID-19 related reagents, enzymes, medical equipment, testing kits & personal protective equipment (PPE), masks, gloves & other accessories of HLL & cargo requisitioned by State/union territories governments & postal packets,” Puri said.

The Civil aviation ministry has formed a committee to facilitate movement of cargo across the country during the 21 day-lockdown period.

The ministry is facilitating the cargo movement using hub and spoke model.

“Cargo hubs have been created at Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Kolkata. Hubs feed to spokes at Guwahati, Dibrugarh, Agartala, Aizwal, Imphal, Coimbatore, Thiruvananthapuram,” it said in a press release.

As India is under a 21 day-lockdown till April 14 to curb the spread of coronavirus, international commercial passenger flights have been suspended for this period.

However cargo flights, offshore helicopter operations, medical evacuation flights and flights that have got special approval from aviation regulator DGCA are permitted to operate.

“Domestic airlines & cargo operators along with Indian Air Force have so far transported 15.4 tonnes of medical supplies on 62 special flights between 26-30th March,” said the minister on Twitter.

A total of 32 people have died in India and more than 1300 people have been infected by the virus till now, according to Union health ministry.