Air India operates international charter, cargo flights
New Delhi: National passenger carrier Air India on Saturday mobilised massive resources to operate international charter and cargo flights.
Accordingly, the airline repatriated stranded foreigners from India and also brought back critical medical cargo from Shanghai.
“All these flights are being operated adhering to all safety protocols laid down by the DGCA,” the airline said in a statement.
The airline is scheduled to operate 18 charter flights to fly back German, French, Irish and Canadian nationals stranded in India amid the nationwide lockdown, as requested by their respected embassies.
“While the Germans and French will be flown to Frankfurt and Paris, the other two nationalities will be taken to Heathrow in London from where Canada and Ireland (governments) would be making further travel arrangements for them,” the statement said.
“These chartered flights started from March 31 with German nationals flying to Frankfurt. Earlier, AI had ferried Israeli nationals to Tel Aviv as well in a chartered flight,” it added.
On Saturday, flights to London and Paris were being operated.
Besides, the flag carrier on Saturday commenced the first cargo flight between Shanghai and Delhi.
“A charter cargo flight was also operated between Delhi and Shanghai today to fly in vital medical cargo from China to India,” the statement said.
“Air India is also scheduled to operate some more cargo flights between Delhi and Shanghai till April 9. These flights will bring critical medical equipment to India,” it added.
The airline will also be operating cargo flights to Hong Kong.
On the domestic front, the Air India Group has been transporting essential cargo throughout the country. The airline has operated 79 cargo flights between March 26 and April 3.
The flights, being operated regularly between the metro hubs — Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Kolkata, Hyderabad and Chennai — to the remote destinations of northeast and other far-flung areas of the country, are carrying medical equipment and other essential items.
Furthermore, the airline has been instrumental in rescuing stranded Indians, mainly students and pilgrims, from China, Japan and Europe.
Lauding Air India’s continued efforts in repatriating stranded foreigners, Amber Dubey, Joint Secretary at the Ministry of Civil Aviation, said in a recent LinkedIn post: “Heard from a senior Air India pilot who commanded the special flight from Mumbai to Frankfurt today that every ATC they crossed said ‘Really proud of u guys’.”
“This was a special Air India flight that flew out stranded European and Canadian citizens from Mumbai. All crew members including the pilots wore the mandatory Covid-19 coveralls for over 20 hours at a stretch (to/fro and ground time at Frankfurt). They will now remain in self-quarantine for 14 days,” he added.