One thing that has been acclaiming constant utilization and need during the lockdown is the essential medical supplies across the country. Delhi IGIA Airport has played a major role in contributing towards supporting the nation. Large volumes and wide-air network is what Delhi Airport has laid its hands on in terms of transferring the medical supplies and strengthening the cargo terminal services. Precisely these are more than 25 million pieces of essential medical supplies. Delhi Airport was designated as the hub for these supplies and hence have ensured a channelized and well-planned distribution of all that was required in high numbers. From April to July 2020, Delhi Airport has handled a large volume of essential medical supplies including 1.9 million Bodysuits, 10.9 million Face Masks, 6.2 million Hand gloves, 4.9 million Goggles and 1 .2 million Shoe covers. These medical kits have been distributed throughout the country including far-flung destinations. Overall it would be fair to comment that Delhi Airport has set up a major facility to handle COVID related medical supplies. This has been one of the biggest and more ardent contributions from an airport to the rest of the country.
Delhi Airport rises to COVID-19 lockdown challenge: 25 million pieces of essential medical supplies handled
- While the country was under lockdown, Delhi IGI Airport operated by GMR Airports was working 24X7 as a nerve center for handling COVID-19 medical essential supplies through imports and channelling the distribution across the country becoming the main cargo terminal.
- During April to July 2020, more than 25 million pieces of essential medical supplies have been handled by IGI Airport, the largest volume of essential medical supplies handled by any airport in India.
- The medical kits contained: Facemasks – 1.9 million Bodysuits, 10.9 million Face Masks, 6.2 million Hand gloves, 4.9 million Goggles and 1.2 million Shoe covers.
- These imported medical kits were distributed all across the country including far-flung destinations of Northeast states - Nagaland, Manipur, Meghalaya, Assam, Sikkim – and major cities such as Mumbai, Bengaluru, Cochin, Hyderabad, Vijayawada, etc.
- Dedicated teams operated 24X7 at Cargo Terminals of Delhi Indira Gandhi Airport and set up a 3800 sqm facility within a record time of 7 days to handle COVID-19 related medical essentials.
- Delhi Airport rules and Innovative procedures were adopted to store import cargos in separate zones while strictly following the norms of the Government of India of social distancing, sanitization, and safety.
- A few months ago, soon after the lockdown was imposed, the Ministry of Civil Aviation had designated Delhi Indira Gandhi Airport as a hub for import and distribution of essential medical supplies for fight against COVID-19.
- Major airlines which contributed significantly in this process by ferrying international cargo to Delhi are Air India, Qatar Airways, Cathay Pacific, FedEx, Emirates, UPS, Turkish Airlines, etc. covering the destinations like USA, Germany, UAE, United Kingdom, Afghanistan, France, Japan, Hong Kong, etc.
- While in the domestic sector, Spicejet, Blue Dart, Indigo, Air India Express, and government’s ‘Lifeline Udaan’ flights comprising IAF have contributed significantly by increasing their freight movements during COVID-19 lockdown to ensure adequate cargo movement for essential medical supplies.
- In addition to essential medical supplies, IGIA Airport also acted as a hub in supporting the Government of India’s flagship initiative ‘KRISHI UDAN’ in the current challenging time by transporting agricultural products to international and domestic markets. The first consignment of fresh vegetables from Varanasi was carried by the British Airways on Delhi-London lane on 23rd April 2020 with the support from Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority, GOI, and Ministry of Civil Aviation. 3 tons of mangoes from orchards around Lucknow was sent to Dubai by Air India Express flight on 4th June 2020.
- In June 2020, Delhi Indira Gandhi Airport recorded 1850 Cargo Freighter Aircraft movements, which is the highest in the country. This comprises 1,091 scheduled and 759 non-scheduled freighter movements.