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Amid commercial flight suspension, just 30 planes operational for cargo, special services

PTI | Mumbai | Updated: 08-04-2020 21:14 IST | Created: 08-04-2020 20:14 IST
Amid commercial flight suspension, just 30 planes operational for cargo, special services
Representative image Image Credit: ANI

Around 30 planes of the more than 650-aircraft strong fleet of the country's eight scheduled carriers are in operations as these planes are utilized for ferrying cargo as well as operate special flights. According to an analysis of data from flight-tracking website Flightradar24, national carrier Air India and its regional arm Alliance Air are operating over 20 of the 30 planes that are currently operational.

Commercial flight services have been suspended till April 14 amid the 21-day nationwide lockdown to curb spreading of coronavirus infections. Only special flights approved by aviation regulator DGCA, medical evacuation flights and those carrying cargo, including medical equipment, to and from different parts of the country are operating now. Air India has 127 planes in its fleet and 111 of them are parked at various airports, while 16 are in service, as per the data.

IndiGo has 257 aircraft parked at different airports and only two of its Airbus 320 planes are in service. SpiceJet, which has 114 planes, is operating seven of its Boeing 737 aircraft, the data showed. An Alliance Air spokesperson said around five of its ATR planes are operational to transport cargo across the country on a rotation basis. The carrier has a total of 19.

The entire fleet of full-service carrier Vistara (41), no-frills airlines -- GoAir (56) and AirAsia India (30) -- are grounded. All the planes of Air India Express, the low-cost arm of Air India, are on the ground. While IndiGo, SpiceJet and Alliance Air air have been conducting cargo flights, Air India has been operating both passenger rescue and chartered flights as well as cargo services.

In recent weeks, Air India has operated flights to Israel, Germany, and London, using its wide-body Boeing 777s and B787s. These services were mainly to carry foreign nationals stranded in the country due to the lockdown, which began on March 25. It has also deployed B787 and Airbus A320 planes for cargo transportation.

The eight scheduled airlines have a combined fleet of 671 planes, as per the data.


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