The instrumental role of “Lifeline Udan” in the fight against COVID-19

lifeline udan role

The role of the flights under the “Lifeline Udan” initiative has been crucial in ensuring the timely delivery of essential cargo across the country, even at the toughest hour. In this story, we highlight the contributions of the Lifeline UDAN flights and its paramount role in ensuring that the fight against COVID-19 continues.

Even as the nation comes to a standstill owing to the lockdown imposed by the Prime minister as a measure to contain the coronavirus pandemic, the supply chain will still have to go on, and any disruptions have to be thwarted of.

As each one of us stayed in during this pandemic and fought it with social distancing, it became even more crucial to make sure the supply of essentials was not disrupted. 

The “LifeLine UDAN” is the brainchild of the Ministry of Civil Aviation, with the aim of ensuring a steady supply of essentials, even in the most remote locations.

The primary responsibility of these Lifeline Udan flights is to transport essential medical cargo to remote parts of the country amid the lockdown to support India’s fight against Covid-19.

The flights under the initiative ‘Lifeline Udan’ have been operated by Air India, Alliance Air, Indian Air Force, Pawan Hans and private carriers.

As per a statement by the Union Ministry of Civil Aviation, “The cargo compulsorily supplies goods such as regents, enzymes, medical equipment, testing kits and PPE, masks, gloves and other essential items as applicable by the State and Union Territory Governments.”

452 flights have been operated under Lifeline Udan by Air India, Alliance Air, IAF and private carriers. 272 of these flights have been operated by Air India and Alliance Air. The flights have covered an Aerial distance over 4,41,564 km till date. ‘Lifeline Udan’ flights are being operated by MoCA to transport essential medical cargo to remote parts of the country to support India’s war against COVID-19.

Helicopter services including Pawan Hans Ltd have been operating in J&K, Ladakh, Islands and North East region transporting critical medical cargo and patients. Pawan Hans till 4 May 2020 have carried 2.27 tons of cargo covering a distance of 7,729 kms. 

Special Focus:

The Flights have cast a special focus on delivering cargo to the North East Region, island territories and the hill states. Air India and IAF collaborated primarily for J&K, Ladakh, North-East and other island regions.

“My deepest appreciation for the Corona Warriors operating and facilitating the ‘Lifeline Udan’ flights for transporting essential medical cargo to the remotest corners of our country. India will win the war against COVID-19, definitely and decisively. “

~Minister of State for Civil Aviation, Hardeep S. Puri on the ‘Lifeline Udan’ initiative

Airlines under the “Lifeline Udan Initiative:

Domestic Cargo Operators SpiceJet, Blue Dart, Indigo and Vistara have been operating cargo flights on a commercial basis. Spicejet operated 796 cargo flights during 24 March to 4 May 2020 covering a distance of 13,61,141 km and carrying 5,817 tons of cargo. Out of these, 290 were international cargo flights. Blue Dart operated 266 cargo flights covering a distance of 2, 94, 928 km and carrying 4,522 tons of cargo during 25 March to 4 May 2020. Out of these, 13 were international cargo flights. Indigo has operated 90 cargo flights during 3 April to 4 May 2020 covering a distance of 1, 50, 803 km and carrying around 444 tons of cargo and including 34 international flights. 

This also includes medical supplies carried free of cost for the government. Vistara has operated 22 cargo flights during 19 April to 4 May 2020 covering a distance of 30,614 km and carrying around 144 tons of cargo. 

Recently,a cargo air-bridge was established with East Asia for transportation of pharmaceuticals, medical equipment and COVID-19 relief material. The quantity of medical cargo brought in by Air India is 956 tons.

In addition to the above, Blue Dart has uplifted medical supplies of around 114 tons from Guangzhou and Shanghai and 24 tons from Hong Kong, starting 14 April upto 4 May 2020. Spicejet has also uplifted 204 tons of medical supplies from Shanghai and Guangzhou upto 4 May 2020 and 16 tons medical supplies from Hong Kong and Singapore upto 4 May 2020.

The efforts by the Lifeline UDAN flights have been paramount and of the essence in ensuring that the supply chain continues to function seamlessly and essential cargo faces no hindrance, in reaching to the ones who need it the most.

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