SpiceJet offers to fly migrants stuck in lockdown from Delhi, Mumbai to Patna

Introduction

SpiceJet has offered its services to the government to take on any humanitarian mission during the 21-day lockdown to alleviate suffering of migrant workers. SpiceJet has offered services of its aircraft and crew members to the government for any humanitarian mission during the 21-day lockdown and the airline is ready to operate some flights from Delhi and Mumbai to Patna to alleviate the suffering of migrant workers, especially those from Bihar, its CMD Ajay Singh said on Friday.

Situation created

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While domestic and international passenger flights have been banned till April 14 midnight, IndiGo and GoAir have also offered their aircraft and crew and staff members to the government for any mission required to contain the spread of coronavirus.We have offered our aircraft and crew for any humanitarian mission that the government needs us to fly. We are already flying food, medicines and medical equipment for government every day (on our freighter aircraft),” Singh told PTI.India has imposed a 21-day lockdown, which came into force on Wednesday, to check the spread of the virus which has claimed at least 17 lives and infected over 700 people so far.

Rural movement

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) is yet to give permission to airlines to conduct flights using their commercial passenger aircraft with just cargo in their belly.Singh said, “SpiceJet operated a special charter flight from Delhi to Coimbatore today on government’s request. This flight was operated at a very short notice and carried a Hazmat suit. This will help local authorities replicate and start local manufacturing.”The special charter flight did not carry any cargo except the Hazmat suit, he added.“We will do as much as we can to help our government and fellow citizens in the fight to defeat coronavirus,” he said. IndiGo on Wednesday said that it has offered the Union civil aviation ministry its “resources, aircraft and crew” to transport medicine, equipment and relief material from one part of the country to another. GoAir said on Friday that it has offered government its aircraft, crew and airport staff to carry out emergency services and repatriation of citizens.

SPICEJET begins

SpiceJet operated a special chartered flight from Delhi to Coimbatore on Friday on the government’s request, Patna airport director Bhupesh CH Negi told this newspaper that the airport premises is available for any flight to land here.However, a SpiceJet executive at Patna airport said they have not received any information regarding any special flight.Meanwhile, Lok Janshakti Party president Chirag Paswan wrote a letter to CM Nitish Kumar on Friday and appealed him to bring back people from Bihar, who are stranded in other states amid the lockdown.At present, no international or domestic passenger flights are allowed to operate in the country. However, cargo flights are exempted. Meanwhile, people stuck in other states are still hesitant to book train and flight tickets for fear of further reschedule post April 14.

Spl flight to bring testing kits

Union minister for health and family welfare, Ashwini Kumar Choubey, on Friday said a special flight will bring coronavirus testing kits from National Institute of Virology (NIV) Pune to Patna. In a press release, Choubey said the NIV was coordinating with RMRI, Patna, for making those kits available here. He mentioned that RMRI director had requested for immediate procurement of huge quantity of corona testing kits. Sources said this request was made after shortage of testing kits and increasing number of suspects for the Covid-19.

Conclusion

Following the 21-day lockdown to counter COVID-19, thousands of migrant workers started moving out of cities, citing lack of food and basic amenities. But with bus or train transport unavailable, they have been forced to go back home on foot, or in cycles and rickshaws. The airlines have also suspended their flights till April 14, because of the lockdown. But have offered to ferry people and material for relief measures.Earlier, IndiGo had told the Civil Aviation Ministry that its aircraft and crew are available to transport medicine, equipment and relief material.

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