Meanwhile, IndiGo has said that it is in the process of operating more than 30 relief flights at its own cost to ferry food, medicine and medical equipment.

In a first SpiceJet ferries vital supplies on passenger seats from Delhi to Chennai
Money Coronavirus Tuesday, April 07, 2020 - 17:45

SpiceJet operated the country’s first cargo-on-seat flight carrying vital supplies in the passenger cabin and belly space from Delhi to Chennai on Tuesday. The airline said that it deployed a Boeing 737 NG aircraft after taking due approvals from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) and the Ministry of Civil Aviation.

The aircraft will be doing five rotations on Tuesday ensuring that vital supplies are delivered in the shortest possible time.

According to the airline, the flight carried 11 tons of vital supplies in passenger cabin and belly space from Delhi to Chennai.

From Chennai it flew to Surat and back. The aircraft will also operate from Chennai to Mumbai and from Mumbai to Delhi later on Tuesday with cargo on-board, it said.

“Since the lockdown began, we have carried more than 1400 tons of cargo operating around 200 domestic and international cargo flights. Today, for the first time in the country, we used a passenger aircraft to transport cargo where in addition to the belly space the passenger cabin was used to safely carry essential supplies. We are honoured to be a part of the government’s ‘Lifeline Udan’ initiative,” Ajay Singh, Chairman & Managing Director, SpiceJet, said in a statement.

He added that SpiceJet has also put its five freighters to maximum use to transport cold chain medical supplies, medicines, medical devices for various state governments, medical and pharma companies

Special seat covers made from flame-proof material were used to cover the seats and the cargo on seat was secured with restraints. To ensure optimum utilisation of space, the overhead bin was also used.

 With SpiceXpress, SpiceJet’s dedicated cargo arm, SpiceJet has transported over 4000 Coronavirus Rapid Test Kits to Kozhikode from Mumbai.

The airline has also operated special cargo flights to Abu Dhabi, Kuwait and other countries taking fresh fruits and vegetables and helping Indian farmers maintain continuity of their supply chains in addition to operating dedicated services from Chennai & Vishakhapatnam to Surat & Kolkata.

Meanwhile, IndiGo has said that it is in the process of operating more than 30 relief flights "free of cost" to aid the Centre's efforts in curbing Covid-19.

The airline has been allowed by the government to carry cargo in their planes to ferry food, medicine and medical equipment in the country's battle against the pandemic.

These flights are being operated by the company at its own cost, the airline said.

According to Ronojoy Dutta, Chief Executive Officer, IndiGo: "We know how critical it is for health workers in every corner of the country to get immediate access to medical supplies, and we are grateful to be allowed to play a role, however modest, in this supply chain."

"The employees of IndiGo would also like to salute our colleagues at Air India for the heroic work they have been doing in evacuating Indians and other nationals stranded in foreign countries."