Air India crew who operated evacuation flights tests positive
A section of Air India pilots have raised concerns over the quality of the personal protective equipment provided to the crew operating rescue flights.Updated: Apr 02, 2020 19:30 IST
One of Air India’s cabin crew that recently operated one of the evacuation flights between Mumbai and Newark in the United States has tested positive for Covid-19, said officials aware of the developments.
The staffer who tested positive is a resident of Vasai-Virar, a Mumbai suburb, and was servicing the Newark- Mumbai flight on March 20. She has now been admitted to Kasturba hospital after testing positive.
The national carrier has operated special flights to China, Germany, Iran, Israel and is expected to operate more flights to the US, UK and Canada.
Air India’s cargo handling subsidiary- AI Airport Services(AI APS), had recently asked 14 of its employees to go into home quarantine after one of their employees tested positive for Covid-19 on Saturday.
The infected woman, who handled the check-in counter for Air India, is in her early twenties and got herself tested voluntarily on March 27 after reporting fever and uneasiness in breathing.
However, while addressing media on a video conference, Air India chairman and managing director Rajeev Bansal said there were no COVID-19 cases among the airline’s ground staff. He did not mention the status of the cabin crew.
Air India pilots involved in rescue missions for stranded Indians and those operating chartered flights to rescue foreign nationals amid the coronavirus outbreak have raised concerns over their safety.
The Air India management pilots, on Monday, had alleged that operating pilots and cabin crew are being provided with substandard, ill-fitting and flimsy personal protective equipment (PPE) that tear easily during operations. They also alleged that sanitizers were not being provided in sufficient quantities and disinfection processes were short of industry best practices.
“These inadequacies compound the chances of viral exposure and equipment contamination - and may even lead to a community (Stage 3) transmission of Covid-19 infection within crew members, passengers and the public at large, since most reside in large residential societies,” the airline’s executive pilots stated in a letter written to Hardeep Puri- the civil aviation minister on March 30.