Citing delays, Maharashtra exempts airlines’ crew from mandatory Covid test
The Maharashtra government has granted special exemption to cabin and cockpit crew of all airlines at all airports in the state from undergoing the mandatory reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test.
The decision comes after national carrier Air India had written to the state government to exempt them from the tests as they operate daily passenger and cargo flights to and from the state.
Air India spokesperson confirmed that the airline had requested Maharashtra government to exempt their crew members from RT-PCR tests. The notice issued to all the municipal collectors by the state government on Wednesday read, “The state government has received requests from Air India stating that it is operating Vande Bharat flights and various cargo flights in and out of Maharashtra on a daily basis. The national carrier is currently operating around 42 daily flights to and from Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport (CSMIA). The state government observed that the Covid RT-PCR test, that has been made compulsory for all persons arriving at the airports, leads to delay in scheduling of flights. The government hence decided to exempt all the crew from this test.
“All on duty cockpit and cabin crew of all the airlines carrying valid identity cards be exempted from RT-PCR test at all airports in Maharashtra subject to following of all necessary Covid related protocols by the respective airlines in the said regard.”
Passengers arriving in Mumbai and other cities in the state however were seen to be confused on the new state norms on RT-PCR tests. Twitter was flooded with passengers’ doubts directed at Mumbai airport officials and also to the airlines. While some enquired if the test could be done on arrival at Mumbai, others asked if passengers booked on connecting flights from Mumbai also needed to undergo the Covid test.
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