Vistara’s newly inducted Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, that had been grounded temporarily due to COVID-19, is flying again – this time to transport medicines and essentials. By Bayar Jain
Despite not being able to soar the skies right now, airlines have risen to the challenge in different ways. Vistara, a joint venture by Tata Sons and Singapore Airlines, too, has taken the philanthropic route with what they know best – flying. The full-service carrier has deployed its newly-inducted Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft to transport relief material, medical supplies and essential commercial goods during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic to different parts of the country. This move is in line with the Lifeline Udan initiative kickstarted by the Government of India, which aims to transport medical supplies and essential goods across the country.
As per reports, Vistara started operating these cargo flights between Delhi and Mumbai on April 19 and is expected to extend the same to other parts of India as well. Reports suggest that the airlines will be operating more such flights, carrying vital supplies and commercial cargo to and from various parts of India like Chennai and Kolkata. As per a post on Vistara’s social media accounts, each of these cargo flights can carry up to 20 tonnes. Reportedly, the airlines will ensure that the health and safety of operating and assisting staff on all-cargo flights, including tech crew, engineers, security personnel and cargo loaders, will be taken care of while on duty.
Speaking about the same, Vinod Kannan, Chief Commercial Officer, Vistara was quoted in a press release, “We are making every possible effort within our means to help India fight COVID-19, and delivering life-saving medical supplies to our fellow citizens is one of them. We will use all available resources to support the Government, businesses and communities across the country who might need our help in these very tough times. We thank the Ministry of Civil Aviation and the DGCA for approving our B787 operations and allowing us to play our part towards this initiative.”
According to the airline’s website, Boeing 787-9 was initially meant to serve as a commercial flight to enable travellers between Delhi and Mumbai, with more international long-haul routes slated to be introduced later. Reports further suggest that this new aircraft is first of the six that Vistara has ordered from Boeing. However, since the country has been in a nationwide lockdown since March 25, all commercial flights have been temporarily grounded. Currently, only cargo flights supplying essentials are allowed to take to the skies.