Amid lockdown, the Kempegowda International Airport (KIA) remains to be a center of activity – over the past week, as hundreds of tonnes of medicines, medical equipment, perishables, and other essential goods fly in and out of Bengaluru.
Tonnes of medical equipment fly from Bengaluru
Days ago, Emirates SkyCargo carried around 140 tonnes of equipment and commodities to Bengaluru and Mumbai from the Far East, USA, Europe and Dubai. Over 110 tonnes of these goods were flown from Shanghai, Hong Kong, Beijing, Incheon, Chicago, Seattle, Zurich, Sweden, and Dubai. From Bengaluru, the cargo airline carried around 70 tonnes of medical equipment and perishables to destinations in Europe and Dubai, Kuwait and Muscat.
According to Times Of India, the airline operates freighters and cargo-only flights to Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, Mumbai, and Thiruvananthapuram right now.
“Emirates SkyCargo made a record uplift of 52 tonnes of perishables, including fruits and vegetables, from Thiruvananthapuram to Dubai and the GCC countries that rely on India for their crucial food supply- in the process supporting local farmers and business in Kerala. Another 83 tonnes of perishables made their way from Thiruvananthapuram and Chennai to these destinations,” the airlines informed, on Thursday.
Additional air freight
Qatar Airways Cargo, meanwhile, stated that it is adding additional air freight capacity to and from India with the utilization of passenger aircraft carrying freight from April 1. The addition of these 19-weekly belly-hold services will see the airline’s weekly cargo capacity to India grow from 2,900 to 3,300 tonnes. The belly-hold cargo flights will be operated on a turnaround basis without any cabin crew members or passengers on-board. The airline will operate freight-only passenger aircraft to Delhi (3 weekly flights), Hyderabad (2 weekly flights), Bengaluru (3 weekly flights), Chennai (4 weekly flights), Mumbai (5 weekly flights), and Kolkata (2 weekly flights).
“We are thankful to the Indian Government for their flexibility in allowing Qatar Airways to continue supporting worldwide trade connectivity by utilizing passenger aircraft to carry freight only while passenger operations remain restricted. We continue to see strong demand for exports and imports, particularly the transportation of essential medical supplies manufactured in India that are pivotal to the global fight against the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive Akbar Al Baker.
Abdulla AlKhallafi, Emirates’ Cargo Manager India, said: “We have maximized our capacity by using the lower deck capacity on our wide-bodied Boeing 777 passenger aircraft, which supplement the cargo capacity we offer on our freighter aircraft. Additionally, we have temporarily shifted all our cargo handling operations to Dubai International airport (DXB) to consolidate operations. This will enable us to reduce costs and response times to requests coming in from India and beyond.”
“International and Domestic Cargo movement continues to take place at BLR Airport every day. Currently, the schedule does not follow a fixed pattern – it is decided based on requests/ or as the need arises from various airlines. BLR Airport continues to function to be able to handle these movements. Essential commodities – depending on the need – are sent to multiple locations. Besides, some evacuation flights have gone out and continue to go basis requests received from Consulates/ Embassies, subject to DGCA approval,” a Bangalore International Airport Limited (BIAL) spokesperson said. BIAL is the operator of KIA.