NEW DELHI, April 13 (IANS): The Centre on Monday said that under the Lifeline Udan initiative, over 218 flights have transported around 377.50 tonnes of medical supplies across the country till April 12. In a tweet, Union Ministry of Civil Aviation Hardeep Singh Puri said that over 218 Lifeline Udan flights have been operated by MoCA to transport essential medical cargo to remote parts of the country to support India's war against COVID-19.
The Minister tweeted that cargo transported till date is around 377.50 tonnes and the aerial distance covered by Lifeline Udan flights till date is over 205,709 kms. Accordingly, these flights are being operated by Air India, Alliance Air, Indian Air Force and other private carriers.
Out of these flights, 132 flights were operated by Air India and Alliance Air. "Special focus has been on the North East Region, island territories and the hill states. Bulk of the cargo comprises light-weight and voluminous products like masks, gloves and other consumables, that consume relatively larger storage space on the aircraft," the ministry said in a statement.
"Special permission has been taken to store cargo in the passenger seating area and overhead cabins, with due precautions." Besides Air India, Blue Dart, SpiceJet and IndiGo are also operating cargo flights on a commercial basis.
On its part, SpiceJet operated 300 cargo flights from March 24 to April 12. Out of these, 95 were international cargo flights. Similarly, Blue Dart operated 94 domestic cargo flights from March 25 to April 12. Budget airline IndiGo has operated 25 cargo flights from April 3-12 carrying 21.77 tonnes of cargo.
The Lifeline Udan flights connect hubs in locations such as Guwahati, Dibrugarh, Agartala, Aizwal, Dimapur, Imphal, Coimbatore, Thiruvanthapuram, Bhub aneswar, Raipur, Ranchi, Port Blair and Goa.
As part of India's war against Covid-19, the Civil Aviation Ministry had launched Lifeline Udan flights on March 26 for movement of medical and essential supplies across the country and beyond. Currently, no foreign or domestic passenger flight operations are allowed in the country.