Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Astral Aviation’s maiden flight from India takes off to Yemen

Today at 04.50 a.m. GMT, Astral Aviation took off its inaugural flight from Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport Mumbai, India to Sanaa International Airport, Yemen with three different vaccine shipments. The aircraft loaded with 19.5 tonnes of vaccines were from Serum Institute of India.

The Nairobi-based airline's B727-200F received clearance from India's Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) to carry vaccines for UNICEF (around 4 tonnes) and Expanded Program On Immunization (EPI) MOPH (over 15 tonnes) in collaboration with Kuehne Nagel. The ground handling was done by Celebi Aviation.

On March 31, Astral carried 360,000 doses of vaccines to Aden via Nairobi. The shipment was handled by Air India from Mumbai to Nairobi.

Commenting on the inaugural flight, Sanjeev Gadhia, CEO and founder, Astral Aviation, stated, "Astral has never operated any flights to and from India which has been served via interline partners. During the pandemic, due to lack of direct capacity and connectivity between India and Africa, Astral has received a number of requests for the transportation of Covid-19 vaccines and pharma to and within Africa which are originating from Mumbai, Bangalore and Hyderabad. Today's inaugural flight offers new opportunities for Astral's clients to move freight from India via Astral's Nairobi hub, and we look forward to operate more charters in 2021 due to the high demand for medical cargo."

The aircraft arrived in Mumbai on April 18 at 16.00 hrs GMT from Nairobi via Muscat. On return, the routing will be from Mumbai-Djibouti (Ambouli International Airport)-Sanaa. As Ambouli airport is close to Yemen, all planes flying humanitarian cargo is expected to make a security stop before flying to Yemen.

Astral has performed in excess of 300 charters for the humanitarian sector into Aden and Sanaa, using a combination of B727-200F, DC9F, CRJ200PF and Fokker 27.

20/04/21 Shalini Nair/Logistics Update Africa

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