IAF presses its heavy and medium lift fleet into round-the-clock Covid duty

By Express News Service
NEW DELHI: The Indian Air Force (IAF) has mobilised a major portion of its transport fleet to meet the requirements arising due to the Covid pandemic situation.

The Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria on Wednesday called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and briefed him on the efforts being undertaken by the IAF.

The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) in its statement said, “Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria informed the Prime Minister that the IAF has ordered 24×7 readiness of the entire heavy-lift fleet and substantial numbers of the medium lift fleets to operate in a hub and spoke model to rapidly meet all Covid-related tasking across the country and overseas. Aircrew for all fleets has been augmented to ensure round the clock operations.”

Bhadauria informed that the IAF is deploying big and medium-sized aircraft to cover all terrains. He briefed the PM about a dedicated Covid Air Support Cell set up by the IAF to ensure faster coordination with different ministries and agencies to Covid-related operations.

The PMO said: “The Prime Minister stressed the need to increase the speed, scale, and safety of operations in transporting oxygen tankers and other essential material. PM spoke about the need to ensure that the IAF personnel engaged in Covid-related operations remain safe from infection.”

The PM inquired about the health of IAF personnel and their families. Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria apprised him that near saturation vaccination coverage has been achieved in the IAF.

He also informed the PM that hospitals under the IAF have increased covid facilities and also allowing civilians wherever possible.

Meanwhile, the Army decided to increase the capacity at the Base Hospital Delhi Cantonment (BHDC). Army, in a statement, said, “A plan was quickly put in place to expand the capacity to 650 Covid beds of which 450 beds will be oxygenated by April 30, 2021. The Intensive Care Unit (ICU) is also being enhanced from 12 beds to 35 ICU beds by April 29, 2021. The next phase of expansion will see the present capacity being augmented to 900 oxygenated beds by the second week of June 2021.”