Easing supply blues: Airlines get approval to carry goods


NEW DELHI: In an attempt to normalise cargo movement across the country, the government has allowed airlines, including private carriers, to carry goods in their aircraft. This will not only ensure supplies to the general public but also help the government ferry essential medical equipment.

“Private airlines are carrying essential medical cargo gratis, and will continue to do so,” said aviation minister Hardeep Singh Puri.

Aviation secretary Pradeep Singh Kharola added that the new order by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) allows airlines to carry other non-essential cargo, too. “They can carry cargo of other companies for a fee with this order and they will continue to carry our medical cargo for free,” Kharola added.

However, Air India and Alliance Air are ferrying cargo at a “minimal” cost, which is the cost of operating such flights, he said.

Allowing airlines to carry cargo would fetch some much-needed revenue for them, since they have been struggling since the government announced a lockdown, grounding all flights.

Puri did not take questions on the bailout requested. Meanwhile, Air India has secured approvals from the Chinese authorities to operate cargo flights between India and Shanghai.

“We will be launching cargo flights to Shanghai on April 4 and 5 and will be ferrying cargo for a cost. We have sought details for more days and are awaiting approvals,” said Rajiv Bansal, CMD of Air India. The government said 85 flights were operated from March 26 to April 1, ferrying 76 tonnes of essential cargo, including medical equipment.





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