Delhi Airport says 'handled' about 100 domestic, int'l flights for Covid patients since last month

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Mumbai, May 21 (PTI) The Delhi International Airport said it has handled as many as 100 domestic and international flight services for COVID-19 patients since last month amid a surge in demand for such flights in the wake of the second COVID-19 wave.

The general aviation terminal with adjoining aircraft parking stands has been handling air ambulance services to the domestic airports and several international destinations like Germany, Dubai, Zurich, Kathmandu, Dhaka, among others, private airport operator DIAL said in a White Paper issued Friday.

Diversified conglomerate GMR-led Delhi International Airport Ltd (DIAL) had launched early last year the country's first dedicated terminal for general aviation.

The airport operator said it geared up its emergency handling services for facilitating such a movement after the Covid-positive cases started increasing in the second wave of the pandemic.

With around 12 aircraft currently permitted to operate from the airport, nearly 100 movements of COVID positive patients have been registered since the past month, DIAL said.

These aircraft are available with medevac (medical evacuation) operations, it said, adding that most of these air ambulances function from the newly-constructed dedicated general aviation apron.

The pilots and crew travels from general aviation terminal and patient movement takes place through dedicated airside gates to avoid any chances of contamination in the airport terminals, according to the airport operator.

Onboard COVID patients are kept in isolation pods, the German made protective cover with oxygen arrangement and under the current circumstances, these patients are restricted to be accompanied only by a doctor, a paramedical officer and a nurse.

'Air ambulance service to ferry the COVID-19 patients is one of the most needed services at this point. We are able to efficiently handle the air ambulance service due to the new state of the art general aviation terminal which was commissioned last year,' said Videh Kumar Jaipuriar, CEO, DIAL.

The air ambulance services providers are provided with complete facilitation services by Fixed-Base Operators (FBO) and DIAL's operational team as per the requirements, the airport operator said.

The FBO concessionaires provide vehicles for transporting crew and medical team/equipment and arranges ambulance services. Sometimes they also facilitate the process of arranging airside vehicle entry permits for any ambulances coming from outside.

An FBO is a commercial enterprise, granted the right by an airport operator to operate on that airport and provide aeronautical services such as fuelling, hangar space, parking, among others, to the general aviation community.

Simultaneously, DIAL also ensures timely sanitization of the ambulance aircrafts and dedicated passage for the COVID patients to board the ambulance to ensure smooth operations at the airport, it said. PTI IAS MKJ