Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Chinese airline retracts plans to suspend cargo flights to India

In a U-turn, China’s state-run Sichuan Airlines on Monday retracted its announcement to suspend cargo flights taking crucial supplies like oxygen concentrators to India and said that it was working out a new plan to resume the services.

A logistics arm under Sichuan Airlines said that it was discussing a new plan to resume cargo services to India, as the country has been going through a COVID-19 resurgence, state-run Global Times reported.

The response came after Indian media reported that Sichuan Airlines had suspended all its cargo flights to India for 15 days, and said that such a move brings “major disruption” to private traders’ efforts to buy medical supplies, including oxygen concentrators, from China, the daily’s said.

“We are re-evaluating the original plan of suspending cargo services to India, and actively discussing a new plan to guarantee cargo services to the region,” the report quoted the airlines as saying in reply to its queries.

In a letter to the sales agents on Monday, the Sichuan Chuanhang Logistics Co. Ltd, the company which is part of the Sichuan Airlines, said the airline has suspended its cargo flights on six routes, including Xian to Delhi, amid hectic efforts by private traders from both sides to procure oxygen concentrators from China.

In the letter seen by PTI, the company said, “in the face of sudden changes in the epidemic situation (in India), in order to reduce the number of imported cases, it is decided” to suspend the flights for the next 15 days.

The Airlines operates about 11 cargo flights to different destinations in India.

Sichuan Airlines usually has two regular flights from the Chinese mainland to India, but neither flight had taken off on Monday, the Global Times report said.

From April 1 to April 25, the number of cargo flights from the Chinese mainland to India averaged five per day, including carried by Sichuan Airlines and SF Airlines, it said.

27/04/21 PTI/The Hindu

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