SpiceJet has become India's first airline to transport cargo on passenger seats. The Boeing 737 NG aircraft of SpiceJet carried essential supplies in the passenger cabin and belly space on Tuesday.
Under the government's Lifeline UDAN initiative, flights are being operated in transporting essential equipments and medicines all over the country to fight coronavirus. So far, 132 cargo flights have been operated to transport medical supplies.
The Gurugram-based airline did four rotations - Delhi to Chennai (4:40 am-7: 35 am); Chennai to Surat (8:20 am-10:45 am); Surat to Chennai (11:10 am-13:05 pm); and Chennai to Mumbai (13:45 pm- 15:30 pm).
The aircraft will operate from Mumbai to Delhi at 16:10 pm.
Also read: Coronavirus Live Updates: COVID-19 infected person can infect only 2.5 persons during lockdown: Health MinistryAjay Singh, Chairman and Managing Director, SpiceJet, said, "Today, for the first time in the country, we used a passenger aircraft to transport cargo where in addition to the belly space the passenger cabin was used to safely carry essential supplies. We are honoured to be a part of the government's 'Lifeline Udan' initiative".
The Gurugram-based company said that special seat covers were made from flameproof material to transport cargo to various domestic destinations. "To ensure optimum utilisation of space, the overhead bin were also used," the company added.
SpiceJet's dedicated cargo arm - SpiceXpress has been transporting surgical supplies, sanitisers, face masks, etc. and providing doorstep deliveries of essential supplies and medical equipment in Bengaluru, Patna, Chennai, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Visakhapatnam, Srinagar, Thiruvananthapuram, Guwahati, Jammu, Lucknow among other cities.
SpiceJet said that it had transported over 4,000 coronavirus rapid test kits to Kozhikode from Mumbai. The domestic carrier has also operated special cargo flights to Abu Dhabi, Kuwait and other countries taking fresh fruits and vegetables.
On March 26, SpiceJet carried an emergency consignment of IR Thermometers to Kolkata from Hong Kong. On March 27, the airline carried hazmat suits to Coimbatore from Delhi to help local authorities replicate and start local manufacturing.
On March 29, the airline company operated a special flight between Delhi and Jodhpur to facilitate transportation of 136 Indian passengers evacuated from Iran to a quarantine facility in the city.
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