Amid the coronavirus outbreak, SpiceJet said it operated its maiden freighter flight carrying medical supplies between Delhi and Myanmar on Tuesday. While the aircraft carried "medical supplies" in its first leg, it will carry "medical equipment" on its return journey, the budget carrier said in its press release. The airline said it also conducted its maiden "cargo-on-seat international flight" from Mumbai to Abu Dhabi, carrying 15 tonnes of fresh fruits and vegetables, on Tuesday.
As India has been under the coronavirus lockdown, aviation regulator DGCA has permitted airlines to use their commercial passenger aircraft along with their freighter aircraft to transport cargo. When commercial passenger aircraft are being used to transport cargo, airlines can keep items in the belly and on their seats too, following guidelines issued by the regulator regarding its weight, strength, fastening, etc. Ajay Singh, Chairman and Managing Director, SpiceJet, said, "We operated our first freighter flight to Myanmar today carrying medical supplies to and from Yangon." "Our cargo-on-seat operations have significantly increased from April 7 when we operated India's first cargo-on-seat flight to operating our first international cargo-on-seat flight to Abu Dhabi today," he added. India has been under lockdown since March 25 to combat the coronavirus pandemic.
All domestic and international commercial passenger flights have been suspended for this period. More than 18,600 people have been infected and approximately 590 people have died due to COVID-19 in India till now.