India Post takes to the skies
A mechanical pigeon will soon come to the aid of the Indian postman. Around the first of July, two new aircraft bearing the logo of India Post will take off from Mumbai and Chennai. These freighters have been leased from Air India by India Post, under the ministry of communications, so that your stamped mails, sealed parcels and other expressions of sentiment can get to their destination faster than ever before. “The aim is to have a more reliable service,’’ says Manjula Parashar, Chief General Manager, mail business, at the postal directorate in Delhi. For this purpose, two of Air India’s old Boeing 737-200s, have been converted into freighters, says Jitendra Bhargava, spokesperson of Air India. With a capacity of 15 tonnes each, the planes will connect cities like Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore, Ahmedabad, Surat and Nagpur. The cue for launching this service came from the success of India Post’s first such aircraft which flies everything from handicrafts to foodgrain on the Kolkata-Guwahati route. As a result of this aircraft, which was launched in August 2007, birthday gifts reached the same day, businesses prospered, and the seven North Eastern sisters were brought that much closer to mainstream India. The services of this existing aircraft will be extended from next month to cover Delhi and Nagpur. Three cities—Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata— will act as hubs for overnight transmission of mail. Every night before the freighters leave their centres at around 11:30 pm, all mail from nearby cities will reach them. The three Boeings will then converge at Nagpur and exchange palettes (metal sheets which carry mails sorted according to destination cities). The aircraft will then fly back with their respective palettes. When they touch down at their centres early next morning, local distribution services like trucks, trains and other airlines will take over. With these new wings, the Indian post which had to rely on other airlines for distribution, “will now have control over its means,’’ says M S Bali, chief postmaster general, Maharashtra and Goa. Earlier, the post was subject to delays if flights didn’t take off or mail was offloaded to accommodate passengers. “Also, our mails move by train, so the transit time is much higher. With the planes we hope to cut that down by half, say. what would take four days will now take two,’’ says Charles Lobo, postmaster general, mail management, Maharashtra and Goa. Dry runs for these aircraft will begin later this week. Right now, plastic trays that facilitate sorting of mail, are being organised. Soon, the term speed post will get a whole new meaning. The mail will come with wings, “other than the pincode which we officials refer to as wing,’’ laughs Lobo.
Labels: India Post Air India Freighters