According to the Ministry of Civil Aviation, as many as 62 Lifeline Udan flights have been operated under this initiative during the five day period from 26 March 2020 to 30 March 2020, transporting more than 15.4 tons of essential medical supplies.
Lifeline Udan: As part of India’s war against the novel Coronavirus pandemic, the Ministry of Civil Aviation has launched “Lifeline Udan”. Under this initiative, flights are being operated for the movement of essential and medical supplies across the nation. According to the Ministry of Civil Aviation, as many as 62 Lifeline Udan flights have been operated under this initiative during the five day period from 26 March 2020 to 30 March 2020, transporting more than 15.4 tons of essential medical supplies. Out of the 62 flights, as many as 45 flights have been operated by Air India and Alliance Air. Take a look at some of the major steps taken by the ministry under the Lifeline Udan initiative:
- The flights, under Lifeline Udan, are being coordinated by a control room set up under the direct supervision of the Ministry of Civil Aviation leadership.
- The cargo of Lifeline Udan includes COVID-19 related medical equipment, reagents, enzymes, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), testing kits, masks, gloves as well as other accessories required by Corona Warriors.
- The carriers involved in this initiative include Alliance Air, Air India, Indian Air Force (IAF) and Pawan Hans. Also, Airports Authority of India (AAI), AAICLAS, AIASL, PPP airports as well as private ground handling entities are providing excellent support. Moreover, flights on a commercial basis, private carriers such as Spicejet, IndiGo and Blue Dart are operating medical cargo.
- The flights under Lifeline Udan are planned using a hub and spoke model. Cargo hubs have been set up at Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Hyderabad and Bangalore. The flights connect these hubs and therefrom to different parts of India.
- The North East Region, island territories and the hill states are being given special focus. Lifeline Udan connects North East Region through regional hubs in Kolkata, Guwahati and Bagdogra. These, in turn, are linked to cities such as Shillong, Aizawl, Imphal, Agartala, Dibrugarh and Dimapur using helicopters and turboprops.
- To enable seamless coordination between various agencies, the National Informatics Centre and Ministry of Civil Aviation had developed a website for Lifeline Udan flights in a record span of three days. The newly launched website enables state governments as well as airlines to upload the details of their consignment and flight services respectively, in advance. The control room of the ministry then assigns the cargo consignments to different flights and till the consignment reaches its destination, coordinates with multiple stakeholders. No service fee is levied on the website.
- On the international front of this initiative, Air India has established a cargo air-bridge between China and India. From 3 April 2020 onwards, regular cargo flights are likely to be operated by Air India for transporting critical medical equipment and supplies between the two countries. To support India’s war against COVID-19, the Ministry of Civil Aviation and all aviation stakeholders will be transporting essential medical supplies by air in the most efficient, seamless as well as cost-effective manner.