Lifeline Udan Service To Equip Corona Warriors With Medical Equipment
Continuing with the transportation of essential supplies across the country, the government has launched Lifeline Udan service to equip Corona Warriors with medical equipment as part of India’s war against COVID-19 across the country and beyond.
Under the initiative, 62 Lifeline Udan flights have been operated during the five-day period from March 26 to March 30, 2020, transporting over 15.4 tons of essential medical supplies.
On the international front, Air India has established a cargo air-bridge between India and China. Regular cargo flights for transporting critical medical equipment and supplies between the two countries are likely to be operated by Air India from April 3, 2020 onwards.
The Lifeline Udan cargo includes COVID-19 related reagents, enzymes, medical equipment, testing kits, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), masks, gloves and other accessories required by those who are in the field tackling coronavirus around the country.
According to Civil Aviation Ministry, 45 out of the 62 flights have been operated by Air India and Alliance Air.
Besides Air India and Alliance, the carriers involved in Lifeline Udan operations include Indian Air Force (IAF) and Pawan Hans.
While support is being provided by Airports Authority of India (AAI), AAICLAS (cargo and logistics subsidiary of AAI), AI Airports Services (AIASL), PPP airports and private ground handling entities, the private carriers like IndiGo, Spicejet and Blue Dart are operating medical cargo flights on a commercial basis.
The flights are being coordinated by a control room set up at Ministry and closely monitored by it.
The Lifeline Udan flights are planned using a hub and spoke model. Cargo hubs have been established in Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Bangalore and Kolkata. Lifeline Udan flights connect these hubs to each other and therefrom to different parts of the country.
A special focus has been on the North East Region (NER), island territories and the hill states. NER is being connected by Lifeline Udan through the regional hubs in Kolkata, Bagdogra and Guwahati. These, in turn, are connected to cities like Dibrugarh, Shillong, Aizawl, Agartala, Imphal and Dimapur using turboprops and helicopters.
A website for Lifeline Udan flights has been developed by National Informatics Centre (NIC) and the ministry to enable seamless coordination between various agencies.
The website link available on www.civilaviation.gov.in allows state governments and airlines to upload their consignment and flight details respectively, in advance. The control room then assigns the cargo consignments to different flights and coordinates with multiple stakeholders till the consignment reaches its destination. There is no service fee levied on the website.
The Ministry of Civil Aviation and all aviation stakeholders are determined to support India’s war against COVID-19 by transporting essential medical supplies by air in the most efficient, seamless and cost-effective manner.