Cargo traffic: A relief for airlines
At a time when subdued travel demand is taking a toll on passenger revenues, major airlines are increasing the number of all-cargo flights as demand for the movement of goods, medicines, groceries, and other supplies increased during the pandemic, especially with the restrictions imposed by states. This strategy is proving to be a huge sigh of relief for airlines who are trying to make up for the fall in their revenues.
For example, Indigo, the country’s largest domestic airline, had during May-June converted 10 of its passenger aircraft into freight carriers with the capacity to ferry up to 20 tonnes of cargo. Between 18 April and 7 September, it has operated more than 1,700 cargo charters, transporting more than 14,300 million tonnes (MT) of supplies across 21 destinations within India, besides international destinations such as Bishkek (Kyrgyzstan), Cairo (Egypt), and Tashkent (Uzbekistan).
Similarly, Vistara, which doesn’t have a dedicated cargo fleet like IndiGo, operated 34 special cargo flights to transport more than 220 tonnes of essential commercial goods, relief material, and medical supplies, during the lockdown.