Hyderabad airport handles first international cargo-only passenger aircraft
April 3, 2020: GMR led Hyderabad International Airport operated its first international cargo-only passenger aircraft utilizing belly space operated by Qatar Airways to move 28 tonnes of essential supplies, pharmaceuticals and perishables from Hyderabad to Doha on April 2, 2020.
April 3, 2020: GMR led Hyderabad International Airport handled its first international cargo-only passenger aircraft, utilizing belly space, operated by Qatar Airways to move 28 tonnes of essential supplies, pharmaceuticals and perishables from Hyderabad to Doha on April 2, 2020.
“During this tumultuous time, when the world is reeling under the onslaught of the COVID-19 pandemic and India is in a state of complete lock-down, there is a dire need for movement of medical equipment and essential goods. In the wake of this, recently, DGCA (Directorate General of Civil Aviation), Govt. of India has permitted cargo operations using existing passenger category aircraft subject to specific guidelines issued by the regulator. Under this new arrangement, GMR led Hyderabad Air Cargo handled its first international shipment of essential supplies via passenger aircraft operating a cargo flight on April 2, 2020,” says the release.
Qatar Cargo QR 8311 landed at 1.35 AM on April 2 with medical & other essential supplies bound for Hyderabad, the capital city of Telangana. The same aircraft uplifted 28 tonnes of essential supplies from Hyderabad and departed at around 3 AM on the same day to Doha and connected the shipments from thereon.
Freighter services to Hyderabad
At present, GMR Hyderabad Air Cargo is handling around 10 freighters weekly along with some special cargo charters, which are connecting Hyderabad with all major international destinations in the United States of America, European countries, Middle-east, Africa and the Far East moving emergency supplies.
Among the key scheduled freighters that are operating from Hyderabad International Airport include - Cathay Pacific Cargo, Turkish Cargo, Qatar Cargo, Lufthansa Cargo, SpiceXpress Cargo (Domestic and international) and BlueDart Cargo.
Qatar Airways Cargo's freight-only passenger flights to India
The airline will operate 19 weekly freight-only passenger aircraft to Delhi (3 weekly flights), Hyderabad (2 weekly flights), Bengaluru (3 weekly flights), Chennai (4 weekly flights), Mumbai (5 weekly flights), and Kolkata (2 weekly flights) utilising its Boeing 777-300ER and Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft.
SGK Kishore, CEO, GMR Hyderabad International Airport (GHIAL), said, “Extraordinary situations require extraordinary solutions. We are happy that DGCA has proactively permitted cargo operations using passenger category aircraft. This has opened a window of opportunity for the aviation community to leverage the fleet of idled passenger aircraft to help meet the desperate need for air cargo capacity to carry essential medicines and other supplies across the globe during this moment of global crisis. Having successfully handled the first such flight to operate into Hyderabad under the new DGCA guidelines, we remain committed to supporting continued operations of our nation’s air cargo lifeline in the days to come.”
The DGCA order also will encourage more airlines to use their grounded passenger aircraft for cargo-only operations, including loading cargo boxed on seats inside passenger cabins for movement of cargo including essential Pharmaceuticals and food supplies.
Hyderabad International Airport has been categorized as one of the 6 national hubs under Government of India’s ‘Lifeline Udan’ arrangement for operating medical cargo lifelines and
“GMR Hyderabad Air Cargo and GHIAL are working round the clock in close coordination with the customs, ground handlers, forwarders, CHAs (Customs House Agents), regulators, state police, cargo trade associations, to keep the critical chain of essential supplies viz. medicines, vaccines, medical equipment, pharma raw material, defence goods, banking documents etc. up and running even through the lockdown. With around 200 dedicated and highly motivated personnel working in a shift, Hyderabad Air Cargo is operating round the clock to ensure all these essential supplies are properly handled and timely cleared,” says the release.