China’s state-run Sichuan Airlines has suspended all its cargo flights to India for 15 days, causing major disruption to private traders’ efforts to procure the much-needed oxygen concentrators and other medical supplies from China.
This happened despite Beijing saying that India and China are in communication for COVID-19 assistance to India. The suspension of cargo flights came as a surprise to agents and freight forwarders who are frantically trying to procure the oxygen concentrators from China.
Prasar Bharati Correspondent in Beijing reports that in a letter to the sales agents on Monday, the Sichuan Chuanhang Logistics Co. Ltd, the company which is part of the Sichuan Airlines said the airline has suspended its cargo flights on six routes, including Xian to Delhi, amid hectic efforts by private traders from both sides to procure oxygen concentrators from China.
In the letter accessed by Prasar Bharati, Beijing, the company said “in the face of sudden changes in the epidemic situation in India, in order to reduce the number of imported cases, it is decided” to suspend the flights for the next 15 days. The freight service was suspended despite Sichuan Airlines admitting that the suspension has also caused great losses to its logistics company. The letter sought the “understanding of its sales agents” and said the company will review the situation after 15 days.
There are also complaints of Chinese manufacturers hiking the prices by 35 to 40 per cent. The freight charges have been increased to over 20 per cent, a Shanghai-based freight forwarding company told Prasar Bharati Beijing Correspondent.
The company told that the decision of Sichuan Airlines to cancel flights has caused severe disruption to attempts by private traders in both the countries to secure quick supplies of the Oxygen concentrators to rush to India in view of the dire situation.