SpiceJet started country’s first cargo-on-flight On Tuesday which carrying important supplies in the passenger cabin and belly space from Delhi to Chennai. The aircraft will be doing five rounds today between Delhi, Chennai, Surat, Mumbai and Delhi again, to deliver necessary in a very short period.
The airline deployed a Boeing-737 NG aircraft after getting approvals from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) and the Ministry of Civil Aviation. It carried 11 tonnes of vital supplies in the passenger cabin and belly space.
According to Ajay Singh, chairman and managing director of SpiceJet, “Since the lockdown began, we have carried more than 1,400 tonnes of cargo operating around 200 domestic and international cargo flights. Today, for the first time in the country, we used a passenger plane to transport cargo, where in addition to the belly space, the passenger cabin was used to safely carry essential supplies.”
He further said that “The company is working as part of the government’s ‘Lifeline Udan’ initiative and has also put its five freighters to maximum use to transport cold chain medical supplies, medicines and medical devices for various state governments, and medical and pharma companies”.
Special covers made from flame-proof material were used to cover the seats and the cargo-on-seat was fastened securely. To ensure optimum use of space, the overhead bin was also used. The aircraft flew from Delhi to Chennai and from Chennai to Surat and back to Chennai. It will also operate from Chennai to Mumbai and from Mumbai to Delhi later during the day with cargo on-board. SpiceXpress, SpiceJet’s dedicated cargo arm, has been regularly transporting surgical supplies, sanitisers, and face masks, apart from providing doorstep delivery of medicines and medical equipment in more than 15 cities across the country. The airline has transported over 4,000 Coronavirus Rapid Test Kits to Kozhikode from Mumbai.
Last month spicejet helped transport an emergency consignment of IR Thermometers to Kolkata from Hong Kong and operated a special charter flight from Delhi to Coimbatore on the government’s request carrying a Hazmat suit that would help local authorities replicate and start manufacturing locally. On March 29, SpiceJet operated a special flight between Delhi and Jodhpur to transport 136 Indians evacuated from Covid-19 hit Iran to a government quarantine facility.
The airline has also started special cargo flights to Abu Dhabi, Kuwait and other countries, taking fresh fruits and vegetables and helping Indian farmers maintain continuity of their supply chains in addition to operating dedicated services from Chennai and Vishakhapatnam to Surat and Kolkata.