As airlines continue to struggle due to coronavirus lockdown with the government easing flight restrictions merely days ago, SpiceJet has converted its passenger planes to fly cargo calling it an “opportunity” in crisis.
As airlines continue to struggle due to coronavirus lockdown with the government easing flight restrictions merely days ago, a domestic carrier has converted its passenger planes to fly cargo calling it an “opportunity” in crisis. “Our cargo operations are doing extremely well and to address the increased demand we have converted three Q400 passenger aircraft into freighters,” Ajay Singh, CMD, SpiceJet said in a statement on Thursday. These converted planes will be primarily used for operations in smaller towns and cities in India. The 78-seater Q400s have a cargo capacity of 8.5 tons each. SpiceJet’s cargo network now spans over 25 international destinations.
“We see a tremendous potential in the cargo business and will continue to expand in the times to come,” Ajay Singh said. With the addition of three converted Q400s, the total number of freight carriers at SpiceJet have gone to eight with five B737 cargo planes as well. The country had imposed a nationwide lockdown on March 24 to check the spread of coronavirus. However, the government had allowed flying of cargo planes to fly essential items to farway cities. Other than cargo flights, medical evacuation flights and special flights were also permitted by the aviation regulator DGCA. Since March 24, passenger flight operations were down, but the government had eased restrictions from May 25. Even then, international passenger flights are still suspended in the country.
With its cargo operations, SpiceJet has already flown 12,000 tons of items on more than 1690 flights since the country imposed coronavirus induced lockdown. The airline has so far transported surgical supplies, sanitizers, face masks, coronavirus rapid test kits, IR thermometers etc. It is also providing deliveries of essential supplies, medicines and medical equipment to various cities in the country.
Among SpiceJet’s international destinations for cargo operations are Sudan, South Korea, Guangzhou, Abu Dhabi, Kuwait, Singapore, Cebu, Huangzhou, Ho Chi Minh, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Bangkok, Tashkent, Baghdad, Cambodia, Colombo, Dubai, Kabul, Myanmar, Sharjah, Male, Kuala Lumpur, Ukraine, Nepal, Indonesia, among other places. The airline debuted its dedicated cargo arm in September 2018.