SpiceJet, the country’s largest air cargo operator, has launched 14 new cargo flights to and from North Eastern India using its Bombardier Q400 freighters.
These dedicated cargo flights will help transport fresh fruits, vegetables, flowers, perishables, fish seeds, fresh fish, pharmaceuticals, medical equipment, express cargo and other general cargo.
Besides improving logistics and connectivity, the new freighter service will help boost the growth of trade in the north-eastern markets and help Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises.
The airline will operate daily cargo flights on Kolkata-Guwahati, Guwahati-Kolkata, Kolkata-Imphal and Imphal-Kolkata sectors. SpiceJet has also introduced cargo flights between Kolkata and Guwahati via Aizawl and Dimapur which will operate twice-a-week. The airline will also operate cargo flights on the Kolkata-Agartala and Agartala-Guwahati sectors thrice-a-week and twice-a-week on Kolkata-Silchar and Silchar-Guwahati routes.
At present SpiceJet connects Guwahati with key cities across the country including Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Kolkata, Chennai, Patna, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Amritsar and has been transporting cargo both to and from the capital of Assam using the belly space of its passenger aircraft.
During the nationwide lockdown there wasn’t even a single day when SpiceJet’s planes did not take off with vital supplies. The airline ensured that the supply chain to Guwahati and the rest of the north-east remained intact carrying key supplies on a daily basis.
Sarbananda Sonowal, Chief Minister of Assam, said, “I would like to congratulate SpiceJet for this wonderful and much needed initiative that would provide a big boost to traders and business houses in Assam and North East, a region that has such terrific growth potential.”
The Assam Chief Minister said farmers from the region can now transport their fresh farm produce across the country and internationally also. “I would urge local businesses, traders, entrepreneurs to make use of this opportunity that provides us access to markets not only within India but across the globe,” he said.
Ajay Singh, Chairman and Managing Director, SpiceJet said while being one of the most culturally and geographically rich regions in India known for their natural produce, consumables and other essential products, the North East region still suffers from a lack of connectivity and it has always been a dream to help better integrate this wonderful part of India with the rest of our country.
“Our dedicated cargo service will provide the quickest access to farmers and businesses in the North East to transport their goods to the rest of the country while at the same time facilitating easy transportation of essential cargo to the region. As the Prime Minister has said that north-east has the potential to become India’s growth engine, we sincerely hope that our dedicated cargo flights will help significantly transform the region,” Singh said.
SpiceJet operates a fleet of 13 cargo aircraft including two wide-body planes and is the only Indian carrier to operate long-haul cargo flights to Europe. The induction of wide-body cargo planes has significantly enhanced the airline’s operational capability allowing it to operate non-stop cargo services across the globe to destinations in Europe, Africa and CIS countries.
The airlines international cargo network now spans over 44 international destinations that include Almaty, Abu Dhabi, Baghdad, Bahrain, Bangkok, Bishkek, Cambodia, Cairo, Cebu, Chad, Colombo, Dhaka, Doha, Dubai, Guangzhou, Ho Chi Minh, Hong Kong, Huangzhou, Incheon, Jakarta, Kabul, Kathmandu, Khartoum, Kyrgyzstan, Kuala Lumpur, Kuwait, Male, Myanmar, Shanghai, Singapore, Sharjah, Sulaymaniyah, Tashkent, Ukraine, among others.
In February 2020, SpiceJet had launched dedicated freighter services from Chennai and Vishakhapatnam to Surat and Kolkata to boost the country’s shrimp farming. The airline’s cargo services operate on both domestic and international routes, powered by fully integrated transportation network including air cargo, ground transportation and warehousing facilities across the country.
Since the nationwide lockdown began, the airline has operated more than 7,000 cargo flights and transported over 50,000 tonnes of cargo since March 25, 2020. Out of these flights, around 3000 were to international destinations.
On April 7, 2020, SpiceJet operated the India’s first cargo-on-seat flight carrying vital supplies in passenger cabin and belly space. Since then, the airline has been regularly deploying its B737 and Q400 passenger aircraft to carry cargo in the passenger cabin.
In addition to handling its regular cargo business, SpiceXpress has been regularly transporting surgical supplies, sanitizers, face masks, coronavirus rapid test kits, IR thermometers etc. and providing doorstep deliveries of essential supplies, medicines and medical equipment to various cities in India.
The airline also contributed in a big way to support the government’s ‘Krishi Udan’ and ‘Marine Krishi Udaan’ initiatives, thereby lending a helping hand to Indian farmers and fishermen, by carrying a record 9,500 MT of shrimp & farm produce since the lockdown has started.