Monday, April 06, 2020

Lifeline Udan: No commercial traffic but Indian skies buzzing with cargo planes carrying Covid-19 essentials

Patna: Though commercial flights stand suspended in India due to the Covid-19 lockdown, the skies are still buzzing with regular cargo flights to transport critical medical equipment and supplies.

By 5 pm on April 5, according to a press communiqué released by Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) on Sunday, as many as 116 flights have already been operated by Air India, Alliance Air, IAF, Pawan Hans and private carriers under Lifeline UDAN.

Lifeline Udan is a government initiative for air transport of medical cargo and essential supplies across India at the time of the Covid-19 crisis.

The Civil Aviation Ministry says that 79 of these flights have been operated by Air India and Alliance Air. Cargo transported till date is around 161 tons. Aerial distance covered by Lifeline Udan flights till date is over 1,12,178 km.
On the international front, the Ministry of Civil Aviation and Air India have been working closely with China to establish a cargo air-bridge between the two countries for the transfer of critical medical supplies. The first cargo flight between India and China was operated by Air India on April 4, carrying 21 tons of critical medical supplies from China.

The urgent demand for medical equipment to fight coronavirus has kept the cargo crew busy while domestic and international passenger flights are banned till April 14 to check the spread of Covid-19. The only passenger flights that have departed from Indian airports are special relief flights to carry stranded foreigners abroad.
05/04/20 Amitabh Srivastava/India Today

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