Air India will ferry seasonal fruits and vegetables to London, Frankfurt amid outbreak

India will dispatch flights carrying seasonal fruits and vegetables to London and Germany’s Frankfurt.

The nation’s national carrier, Air India, will operate two flights unde the Krishi Udan programme.

Air India has scheduled operations to London on April 13 and Frankfurt on April 15 under Krishi Udan programme. Both flights would be carrying seasonal fruits and vegetables from Indian farmers,” a senior government spokesperson said.

According to him, on their return journey they would be bringing essential medical supplies.

Krishi Udan scheme has been started by the government to assist farmers in transporting agricultural products abroad.

“This gives direct marketing access and open up new opportunities for both import and export that would benefit farmers,” states a senior bureaucrat.

Meanwhile, an air bridge connection has also been established by the centre with China from April 4 onward for transportation of pharmaceuticals, medical equipment and COVID-19 relief material.

Earlier on 11th April, an Air India Flight AI349 arrived in Mumbai from China’s Shanghai.

“Essential medical supplies were brought from Shanghai. Now, they would be distributed to different states as per requirement,” an officer says.

Since the coronavirus outbreak in China, Air India not only has evacuated Indians from many difficult locations but also have operated 119 flights ferrying COVID-19 related medical equipment and essentials to various parts of the country.

The Ministry of Civil Aviation and the entire aviation industry is supporting India’s war against COVID-19 by transporting medical cargo within India and abroad in most efficient and cost effective manner.

Among private operators, SpiceJet , Blue Dart and IndiGo are operating cargo flights on a commercial basis.

As per data maintained by the government, SpiceJet has operated 266 cargo flights during March 24 and April 10. Out of these, 76 were international cargo flights.

Blue Dart operates 86 cargo flights and IndiGo 19.

As per civil aviation ministry data, bulk of the cargo compromises of light weight and voluminous products like masks, gloves and other consumables that utilise larger storage space in planes.

As per new initiatives pushed by the civil aviation ministry, a number of regulatory initiatives have been announced.

“Permission has been given to utilise the passenger cabin aircraft for carriage of cargo subject to safety requirements,” explains an official.

According to him, other initiates are waiver of demure age up to 50 per cent on import cargo at all airports and extension of validity of certificates of dangerous goods.