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274 flights operated under Lifeline UDAN; 463.15 tons cargo transported

‘Lifeline UDAN’ flights are being operated by the Civil Aviation Ministry to transport essential medical cargo to remote parts of the country
  • Around 274 flights have been operated under Lifeline UDAN by Air India, Alliance Air, IAF and private carriers

  • At least 175 of these flights have been operated by Air India and Alliance Air

New Delhi: ‘Lifeline UDAN’ flights are being operated by the Civil Aviation Ministry to transport essential medical cargo to remote parts of the country to support India’s war against COVID-19. Around 274 flights have been operated under Lifeline UDAN by Air India, Alliance Air, IAF and private carriers. At least 175 of these flights have been operated by Air India and Alliance Air. Cargo transported till date is around 463.15 tons. Aerial distance covered by Lifeline UDAN flights till date is over 2,73,275km, the ministry said on Saturday.

Helicopter services, including Pawan Hans Ltd, have been operating in J&K, Ladakh, islands and North East region, transporting critical medical cargo and patients.

Lifeline UDAN flights operate in a hub and spoke model

Domestic Lifeline UDAN flights operate in a hub and spoke model. Cargo hubs have been established at Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Bangalore and Guwahati. Lifeline UDAN flights connect these hubs to airports (spokes) at Dibrugarh, Agartala, Aizwal, Dimapur, Imphal, Jorhat, Lengpui, Mysuru, Nagpur, Coimbatore, Trivandrum, Bhubaneswar, Raipur, Ranchi, Srinagar, Port Blair, Patna, Cochin, Vijayawada, Ahmedabad, Jammu, Kargil, Ladakh, Chandigarh, Goa, Bhopal and Pune. Special focus has been on the North East region, island territories and the hill states. Air India and IAF collaborated primarily for J&K, Ladakh, North-East and other island regions.

Private airlines operating cargo flights on commercial basis

Domestic cargo operators SpiceJet, Blue Dart and Indigo are operating cargo flights on a commercial basis. Spicejet operated 393 cargo flights between March 24 and April 17, covering a distance of 5,64,691 km and carrying 3,183 tons of cargo. Out of these, 126 were international cargo flights. Blue Dart operated 134 domestic cargo flights, covering a distance of 1,32,295 km and carrying 2,122 tons of cargo between March 25 and April 17. Indigo has operated 29 cargo flights during 3-17 April, covering a distance of 26,698 km and carrying around 31tons of cargo. This also includes medical supplies carried free-of-cost for the government.

International air bridges

An air-bridge has been established from April 4 for the transportation of pharmaceuticals, medical equipment and COVID-19 relief material.

Air India operated its second flight between Mumbai and Frankfurt on April 15 under the Krishi UDAN programme, carrying 27 tons of seasonal fruits and vegetables to Frankfurt and returning with 10 tons of general cargo. Air India had operated India’s first Krishi UDAN flight between Mumbai and London on April 13, carrying 28.95 tons of fruits and vegetables to London and returned with15.6 Tons of general cargo material. Air India will operate dedicated scheduled cargo flights to other countries for transfer of critical medical supplies, as per the requirement. Air India operated its first such flight on April 15 between Delhi-Seychelles-Mauritius-Delhi, carrying 3.4 tons to Seychelles and 12.6 tons to Mauritius of medical supplies.