Amid a severe second wave of COVID-19, Vistara is offering doctors and nurses representing government organizations free flights. These frontline healthcare workers will be able to fly across the country for free with Vistara during their service. The move has been commended by many, including the Ministry of Civil Aviation.

Stepping up

As India struggles to cope with a crippling second wave of COVID-19, private enterprises are stepping up to do their part. This week, it was revealed that Vistara has reached out to the Ministry of Civil Aviation to offer free flights for doctors and nurses representing government organizations.

The frontline workers will be able to fly anywhere within the airline’s domestic network and can fly back once their service is complete. The number of doctors and nurses on each flight will be decided on a first-come-first-served basis depending on how many open seats remain.

In addition to flying healthcare workers, Vistara is also offering air logistics support to any government hospitals and organizations. This would mean transporting critical medical supplies for hospitals and depends on available cargo space. Offering up cargo space could be an extremely beneficial move during the current crisis.

Stepping up

The decision to fly healthcare workers and cargo for government organizations and hospitals is the need of the hour. Hospitals across the country are struggling to secure oxygen tanks and life-saving drugs amid this crisis. Providing more air transport will greatly cut down the transit time for this critical equipment.

Currently, the Indian Air Force has been deputed to transport oxygen across the country and fly it in from other countries too. However, any additional capacity will only help to ease the crushing burden the healthcare system has found itself under.

While all Indian states are battling high case numbers, certain cities have emerged as hotspots. This includes large hubs like New Delhi, Mumbai, Pune, Bangalore, and many others. Transporting additional healthcare workers has been a priority to bolster available capacity in these cities.

Any help in this process will undoubtedly be appreciated, with the Civil Aviation Ministry saying about Vistara’s offer,

Wish to commend generous offer by [Vistara] to Govt Organisations and Hospitals in immediate need of air logistics. They’ve also offered to fly Doctors & Nurses representing Govt organisations, free of cost, across the domestic network. Let’s fight the pandemic together!”

Back to zero

As India battles its worst outbreak yet, the aviation industry has been hit hard once again. While the government did not ban flights this time around, the number of daily passengers has dropped significantly. From a peak of 313,000 daily travelers in early March, yesterday only saw 144,700 passengers taking to the skies.

This drop has taken India back to figures last seen in October, just five months after flights resumed in India after a lockdown in March. For now, the long-awaited domestic recovery has been pushed back at least another quarter, if not longer.

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