Coronavirus Lockdown: Indigo, GoAir offer to ferry vital supplies for government

Low-cost carriers IndiGo and GoAir have expressed interest in transporting relief and medical supplies during the lockdown period and have written to the government requesting for permission.

SpiceJet is the only major scheduled airline in India that has a separate cargo wing called SpiceXpress. It is currently operating five freighter aircraft, as per the airline’s spokespersons.

IndiGo, the largest airline in India as per Feb traffic data, has written to the Union Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri and has requested the government to allow IndiGo to use its aircraft to ferry essential items and medical supplies.

“I know you must be facing major logistical challenges in moving medicine, equipment and relief supplies from one part of the country to another. We at IndiGo would be extremely proud to be associated with this critical life- saving activity at this hour of great need for our nation. Please be assured that all our employees are highly motivated in the service of this country and are eagerly looking for opportunities in which to contribute. We would consider it an honour if you would engage us in this activity,” IndiGo Chief Executive Officer Ronojoy Dutta wrote to the Aviation Minister.

GoAir, the airline with around 10 percent market share as per Feb data, has also written to the government on the same and has offered its services for ferrying cargo and charter services, officials said.

Indian government announced a total shutdown of passenger flight services across the country from March 25. The lockdown, which was scheduled to last till March 31, is now expected to extend till the entire lockdown period, which has been extended till April 14.

In view of this, the country’s entire fleet of around 650 aircraft is currently on the ground and leading to unprecedented losses to the entire aviation industry.

On March 25, aviation consultancy firm CAPA said that India’s aviation sector may incur losses of $3.3-3.6 billion in April-June, out of which Indian Airlines’ losses may amount to $1.75 billion.

“It is increasingly looking like April-June quarter will be a washout for airlines. There is an urgent government intervention needed to minimize long-term impact. IndiGo’s enviable cash reserves may be wiped out, small airlines may exit and a smaller consolidated airline industry may emerge on the other side,” CAPA said, adding that Indian airlines are not prepared for such a severe systemic shock.

While Air India has been involved in evacuation flights for stranded Indians in Wuhan, Japan, Milan, and Rome, today SpiceJet said that the government has requested its services to transport those Indians, who are evacuated from Iran, from Delhi to Jaisalmer.

“SpiceJet will operate a special flight on Delhi-Jodhpur route on Mar 29 to transport 142 evacuated Indians from Iran. It will operate flight as per Government of India‚Äôs request and will deploy Boeing 737 aircraft,” the Gurugram-based airline said.

Track our full coverage of the cornavirus pandemic here.

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