To aid India's battle against the COVID-19 pandemic, 415 flights have been operated under 'Lifeline Udan' by Air India, Alliance Air, Indian Air Force and private carriers since the start of the coronavirus lockdown in late March which has ferried around 779.86 tons of cargo.
The Ministry of Civil Aviation informed on Thursday that aerial distance covered by 'Lifeline Udan' flights till date is over 4,07,139 km. ‘Lifeline Udan’ flights are being operated by MoCA in the domestic sector to transport essential medical cargo to remote parts of the country to support India’s war against COVID-19.
Union Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri lauded the 'Corona Warriors' of his department for this achievement on Twitter. He said MoCA officials have "admirably stood up as pillars of strength" to help India fight the deadly virus.
Corona Warriors of Civil Aviation have admirably stood up as pillars of strength to support India's fight against this deadly Pandemic through Lifeline UDAN.— Hardeep Singh Puri (@HardeepSPuri) April 30, 2020
415 flights have transported 780 tons of medical & essential cargo over 4,07,139 kms since 26th March 2020. pic.twitter.com/6IaVHksP1g
Saluting @IAF_MCC for their relentless efforts in providing medical supplies and ration to different parts of the country and equipping states to combat COVID-19. #IndiaFightsCorona. pic.twitter.com/SZdoaAsZRO— Shripad Y. Naik (@shripadynaik) April 29, 2020
According to the Ministry, state-run helicopter operator Pawan Hans has carried two tons of cargo covering a distance of 7,257 km till April 29.
"A special focus has been on the North East Region, island territories and the hill states. Helicopter services including Pawan Hans Ltd have been operating in J&K, Ladakh, Islands and North East region transporting critical medical cargo and patients. Air India and IAF collaborated primarily for J&K, Ladakh, North-East and other island regions," a press statement said.
Pawan Hans COVID WARRIORS carried out Medevac Ops today in far flung corner of the country, Anadam & Nicobar by airlifting 3 patients from Hutbay Island and brought to Portblair. @MoCA_GoI @ushapadhee1996 #IndiaFightsCorona pic.twitter.com/em73MWbeTa— Pawan Hans Ltd (@PawanHansLtd) April 29, 2020
Domestic, private-run cargo operators like SpiceJet, Blue Dart, Indigo and Vistara are also operating cargo flights on a commercial basis. Spicejet operated 683 cargo flights covering a distance of 11,84,107 km and carrying 4,940 tons of cargo. Out of these, 245 were international cargo flights.
Blue Dart operated 233 cargo flights covering a distance of 2,53,631 km and carrying 3,932 tons of cargo. Out of these, 12 were international cargo flights.
Indigo has operated 64 cargo flights covering a distance of 1,01,989 km and carrying around 269 tons of cargo and including 18 international flights. This also includes medical supplies carried free of cost for the government.
Vistara has operated 17 cargo flights covering a distance of 24,141 km and carrying around 123 tons of cargo.
In the international sector, a cargo air-bridge was established with East Asia for transportation of pharmaceuticals, medical equipment and COVID-19 relief material, MoCA said. The quantity of medical cargo brought in by Air India is 729 tons.
"In addition to the above, Blue Dart has uplifted around 114 tons of medical supplies from Guangzhou and Shanghai starting 14 April upto 29 April 2020. Spicejet has also uplifted 153 tons of medical supplies from Shanghai and Guangzhou upto 29 April 2020 and 13 tons medical supplies from Hong Kong and Singapore upto 25 April 2020," MoCA stated.