New Delhi, March 27: 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.
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. COVID-19 Outbreak: SpiceJet Passenger Quarantined in Delhi Upon Arrival from Bangkok on Coronavirus Suspicion.
"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.
"We would like to alleviate the suffering of the migrant workers, especially those from Bihar, by flying some flights between Delhi/Mumbai and Patna," he added. 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.
Currently, while there is a ban on international and domestic passenger flights in the country, all-cargo flights and flights specifically approved by the DGCA can operate as usual, according to the aviation regulator. SpiceJet has five B737 freighter aircraft in its fleet and they are operating normally. However, the airline's entire commercial passenger aircraft fleet of 82 Boeing 737, two Airbus A320 and 32 Bombardier Q-400s is currently grounded.
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.