Wadia Group aviation venture GoAir has written to civil aviation ministry and sector watchdog DGCA, offering its grounded aircraft fleet, cockpit and cabin crew, and airport staff for carrying out emergency services and repatriation of citizens.
Regular passenger air services are suspended in the country till April 14 amid the 21-day nationwide lockdown, which is in place from Tuesday mid-night, as part of the larger efforts of the government to contain COVID-19 (coronavirus), which has wreaked havoc in several developed economies. This has left the entire fleet of over 650 planes with the domestic air operators grounded, along with huge manpower with no work.
Moreover, stringent border control measures by various countries, including India, to deal with the unprecedented situation has left thousands of people stuck in different territories, and governments are operating special flights to evacuate their stranded citizens.
GoAir has reached out to the civil aviation ministry and the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) and offered its services in the wake of a complete lockdown across the nation, the airline said in a statement to PTI on Thursday. The budget carrier's proposal came a day after market leader IndiGo made a similar offer to the government.
"Everyone around the world is facing an unprecedented challenge as we try and battle this global pandemic," it said. The Mumbai-headquartered passenger air carrier has a workforce of around 5,500 personnel to operate its fleet of 56 planes.
"GoAir airline is fully supportive of the initiatives announced by Prime Minister. In fact, we were the only airline to respond to Prime Minister's call to observe Janata Curfew on March 22 by suspending all our flights on that day. With our state-of-the-art fleet of Airbus A320 aircraft, GoAir is on stand-by for any flight that the government may want us to fly," GoAir Managing Director Jeh Wadia said.
The airline, in the letter, has proposed that it can help in services such as ship cargo on behalf of the government, essential services such as medicines, food grains, ship manpower who would carry out emergency services: doctors, nurses, para medics, relief workers.
Besides it can also help in repatriation of stranded Indian citizens and expats to each other's countries as well as bring back people stuck in various states within the country to their respective places.