International freighters will be allowed to fly to and from India between March 22 and 29

Ashwini Phadnis New Delhi March 20 | Updated on March 20, 2020

The government has allowed international freighter aircraft to operate from and to India between March 22 and March 29.

On Thursday, the government had said that no scheduled international airline will be allowed into the country for a week starting this Sunday.

Mark Sutch, Regional General Manager, South Asia, Middle East and Africa, Cathay Pacific Airways, confirmed to BusinessLine that Cathay Pacific will be operating freighter aircraft between March 22 and March 29.

“These are flights with a Boeing 747 freighter aircraft and not freighter flights operated as freighters,” he added.

It is common for foreign and domestic airlines to carry cargo apart from luggage in the belly of scheduled commercial flights. A Delhi-London flight could carry freight booked by an exporter and mail as freight apart from carrying the checked in bags of the passengers on the flight.

Cathay Pacific operates over 20 weekly freighter flights from Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Chennai and Kolkata.

A major component of the incoming cargo is said to be active pharma ingredients. Sources in other international airlines with freighter operations also confirmed that the authorities had said that international freighters will be allowed into India during the March 22-29 period.

A ground handling agency in Delhi also confirmed that its interpretation of Thursday’s order is that international freighters can come into the country although there is some issue about the crew operating these freighter aircraft.

Published on March 20, 2020

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