Lifeline Udan flight being loaded with essential supplies

As part of India’s war against COVID-19, the Ministry of Civil Aviation, Government of
India has launched “Lifeline Udan” flights for movement of medical and essential supplies across the country and beyond. The flights are being coordinated by a control room set up at Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) under the direct supervision of the MoCA leadership.

The Lifeline Udan cargo includes COVID-19 related reagents, enzymes, medical
equipment, testing kits, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), masks, gloves and other
accessories required by Corona Warriors across the country.

The carriers involved in Lifeline Udan operations include Air India, Alliance Air, Indian Air Force (IAF) and Pawan Hans. Excellent support is being provided by Airports Authority of India (AAI), AAICLAS (cargo and logistics subsidiary of AAI), AI Airports Services (AIASL), PPP airports and private ground handling entities. Private carriers like IndiGo, Spicejet and Blue Dart are operating medical cargo flights on a commercial basis. Flights are planned using a hub and spoke model. Cargo hubs have been established at Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Bangalore and Kolkata. Lifeline Udan flights connect these hubs to each other and therefrom to different parts of the country.

Over 214 Lifeline Udan flights have been operated by MoCA to transport essential medical cargo to remote parts of the country to support India’s war against COVID-19. 128 of these flights have been operated by Air India and Alliance Air. Cargo transported till date is around 373.23 tons. Smt. Usha Padhee, JS, MoCA said that the aerial distance covered by Lifeline Udan flights till date is over 1,99,784 km. The Cargo load carried on 11th April 2020 was 108 Tons. The Ministry of Civil Aviation and the aviation industry is determined to support India’s war against COVID-19 by transporting medical air-cargo within India and abroad in the most efficient and cost-effective manner.

Lifeline Udan Statistics

Special focus has been on the North East Region, island territories and the hill states. Air India and IAF collaborated primarily for J&K, Ladakh, North-East and other island regions. Bulk of the cargo comprises light-weight and voluminous products like masks, gloves and other consumables, that consume relatively larger storage space on the aircraft. Special permission has been taken to store cargo in the passenger seating area and overhead cabins, with due precautions.

Public information related to Lifeline Udan flights is updated daily on the portal at that was developed by National Informatics Centre (NIC) and MoCA in a record span of three days to enable seamless coordination between various stakeholders.

Domestic Cargo Operators Spice Jet, Blue Dart and Indigo are operating cargo flights on a commercial basis. Spice jet operated 286 cargo flights covering a distance of 4,01,290 km and carrying 2334.51 tons of cargo. Out of these 87 were international cargo flights. Blue Dart operated 94 domestic cargo flights covering a distance of 92,075 km and carrying 1479 tons of cargo .Indigo has operated 25 cargo flights covering a distance of 21,906 km and carrying around 21.77 tons of cargo. This also includes medical supplies carried free of cost for the government.

Domestic cargo by Spicejet

DateNo. of FlightsTonnageKilometres


International cargo by Spicejet

DateNo. of FlightsTonnageKilometres


Blue Dart cargo uplift

DateNo. of FlightsTonnageKilometres


Indigo cargo uplift

DateNo. of FlightsTonnageKilometres

(Note – Indigo’s Tonnage also includes Govt. cargo consisting of medical supplies carried on Free of Cost (FOC) basis.)

International Sector

An air-bridge has been established with effect from 4 April 2020 for transportation of pharmaceuticals, medical equipment and Covid-19 relief material. The date-wise quantity of medical cargo brought in as follows:

S NoDateFromQuantity (Tons)
207.4.2020Hong Kong6


Within South Asia, Air India transported around 9 tons of supplies on 7 April 2020 and 4 tonnes on 8 April 2020 to Colombo. Air India will operate dedicated scheduled cargo flights to other countries for transfer of critical medical supplies, as per the requirement.

A number of regulatory initiatives have been announced, which inter alia include (i) permission to utilize the passenger cabin of aircraft for carriage of cargo subject to safety requirements; (ii) waiver of demurrage upto 50% on import cargo at airports; and (iii) extension of validity of certificates of dangerous goods (e.g. chemicals used for medicines).

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