In order to transport “critical medical equipment and supplies” to fight COVID19, Air India is all set to operate cargo flights between India and China from April 3.

According to mediareports, Air India will establish a “cargo air-bridge” with China for transporting the medical equipment, suits, gloves, masks and sanitisers to India from the neighbouring country.

According to the Union aviation ministry, under Lifeline Udan initiative of the ministry, 74 flights have been operated till date for transporting medical cargo across the country.

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A total of 37.63 tonnes of cargo have been transported till date out of which more than 22 tonnes have been transported on March 31, 2020, the ministry said.

On March 31, Air India flights carried consignments of Meghalaya, Assam, ICMR, Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh, and Pune.

The Air India flights also carried consignments of many other states of the country.

As part of India’s war against COVID-19, the Union ministry of civil aviation has launched “Lifeline Udan” flights for movement of medical and essential supplies across the country and beyond.

The cargo flights were also operated to carry medical supplies to southern, eastern and north-eastern regions on March 30, 2020.

Air India flight A320 on its route Mumbai-New Delhi-Bengaluru-Mumbai, carried HLL consignment of 6593 kg and Nagaland ventilator masks, consignments of Kerala and Karnataka, consignment of Bipaps for Meghalaya and consignment of the ministry of textiles for Coimbatore.

IAF flight from Hindon- Dimapur- Imphal-Guwahati carried consignments of HLL and ICMR kits for Shillong.

Private airlines such as Indigo, Spicejet and Blue Dart are also operating flights on a commercial basis, the ministry said.

MoCA group was formed with important stakeholders.

Hub & spoke lifeline services have been started by the ministry.

Cargo hubs have been created in Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Bangalore, and Kolkata, and hubs feed to spokes in Guwahati, Dibrugarh, Agartala, Aizwal, Imphal, Coimbatore, Thiruvananthapuram.

A dedicated medical air cargo related website has also been launched by the aviation ministry.

“This website will be fully functional from 1st April, 2020. The link is available on the MoCA website (www.civilaviation.gov.in),” said the ministry.

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