The Union Civil Aviation Ministry announced on Friday that an air cargo management group has been created to move essential commodities across the country during the 21-day nationwide lockdown due to the COVID-19 oubtreak.
“Private airlines or freighters have been co-opted to link the request of states or union territories for smooth movement of essential items,” the Ministry said on Twitter on Friday.
It said that “additionally, ATR aircraft of Alliance Air have been kept on standby at Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Bengaluru & Hyderabad“.
Planes are being chartered at concessional rates for boxes that need a large aircraft, especially to move items of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) to States, the Ministry said.
“Helicopters are ready in the north-east for intra-region movements. Support is being given to private agencies interested in aiding efforts,” it said.
“An air cargo management group for COVID-19 has been created with a dedicated team for smooth movement of cargo. Ministry is adopting a hub & spoke approach to move essential commodities across the country. Resident commissioners of states/union territories are part of the group,” the Ministry said on Twitter.
Essential items especially medicine and ICMR kits were transported from Delhi to Aizawl, Dibrugarh, Kolkata and Hyderabad on Friday, it said.
“The second flight of the day transported essential items from Mumbai to Pune, Bengaluru and Trivandrum,” the Ministry said.
“The third batch of air cargo carried essential items from Delhi to Pune and ICMR kits from Pune to Patna. Thereafter, testing kits were delivered in Delhi aboard the return flight from Patna,” it said.