Budget carrier SpiceJet on Wednesday launched a dedicated cargo service connecting the North East with the rest of the country and international destinations with 14 aircraft to transport all types of goods, including fruits and vegetables.
Addressing the gathering at a function here, Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal said that farmers from the region can now transport their fresh farm produce across the country and internationally with the help of this cargo service.
"Assam alone has more than 37 lakh farmer families. Today is a big day for all of them as their produce can now go global. This initiative will provide a big boost to traders and business houses in Assam and North East, a region that has terrific growth potential," he added.
SpiceJet Chairman and MD Ajay Singh said that the North East still suffers from a lack of connectivity despite being one of the most culturally and geographically rich regions in India, known for their natural produce, consumables and other essential products.
"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," he added.
The service will carry both perishable and general cargo to 44 international destinations of the SpiceJet network, Singh said through video link from New Delhi.
The SpiceJet has launched 14 new cargo flights to and from North Eastern states using its Bombardier Q400 freighters, thus ensuring uninterrupted connectivity with the rest of the country.
The company said that it also operates a fleet of 13 cargo aircrafts, including two wide-body planes, and is the only Indian carrier to operate long-haul cargo flights to Europe, Africa and CIS countries.
The dedicated cargo flights for North East 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 boost the growth of trade in the North Eastern markets and help Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises," SpiceJet Chief Marketing Officer Debojo Maharshi said.
The airline will operate daily cargo flights on Kolkata-Guwahati and Kolkata-Imphal sector, besides flying between Kolkata and Guwahati via Aizawl and Dimapur twice a week.
It will also operate cargo flights on the Kolkata- Agartala and Agartala-Guwahati sectors thrice a week and Kolkata-Silchar and Silchar-Guwahati routes twice a week.
SpiceJet connects Guwahati with key cities across the country, including Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Kolkata, Chennai, Patna, Hyderabad, Jaipur and Amritsar, and has been transporting cargo both using the belly space of its passenger aircraft.
Since the nationwide lockdown began on March 25, the airline said it has operated more than 7,000 cargo flights and transported over 50,000 tonne of cargo. Out of these flights, around 3,000 were to international destinations.
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