Thursday, May 14, 2020

After 7 weeks, first private cargo flight arrives at Srinagar Airport

Even as routine commercial passenger flight operations remain suspended for last seven weeks due to Covid-19 outbreak, a private cargo aircraft carrying medical essentials arrived at Srinagar International Airport on Wednesday. This is the first private airliner to arrive in Srinagar since March 25 when government of India suspended routine commercial air traffic.

Airports Authority of India (AAI) officials told Greater Kashmir that private airliner SpiceJet operated its maiden cargo flight carrying medical and essential supplies from Delhi to Srinagar. The flight also travelled to Leh before touching down at Srinagar, AAI official said.

“It is a good sign that a private airline cargo aircraft has started its operations to the Valley. The next cargo flight of the same airline is scheduled for May 15,” said Santosh Dhoke, Director AAI, Srinagar Airport. However, Dhoke said construction of a dedicated cargo terminal at Srinagar Airport “has temporarily been stopped due to the lockdown owing to Covid-19”. The Airport Director added that existing terminal used to handle more than 25 metric tonnes of cargo operations every day.
AAI officials said several special flights of Indian Air Force, one flight of Indian Airlines and Jammu and Kashmir government-owned aircraft have arrived at Srinagar during the lockdown period so far. “Life saving drugs worth more than Rs 90 lakh procured by Kashmir-based pharmaceutical dealers from outside companies have been airlifted to the Valley in last 7 weeks. Consignments of life saving drugs including medicines used for cancer, diabetes, renal and cardiac problems have been airlifted to the Valley with help from the IAF,” the official said.  However, the SpiceJet cargo flight is the first private aircraft to arrive here since March 25.
Speaking with Greater Kashmir, Irfan Hussain Kanth, Regional Manager, North India, Sales and Operations SpiceJet Cargo said apart from bringing medical supplies to the Valley, the airline was keen on supplying fruits and vegetables from the growers here.
14/05/20 Saqib Malik/Greater Kashmir

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