Crew getting substandard Covid-19 protective gear in flights: Air India

Air India crew members receive poor-quality, poorly adjusted and fragile personal protective equipment (PPE) on special flights operated during the lockout, an airline pilots’ union told the Minister of Transport on Monday. ‘Civil Aviation, Hardeep Singh Puri.

As India is subject to a 21-day lockout until April 14 to curb the spread of the coronavirus, all domestic and international commercial passenger flights have been suspended for this period.

However, carriers such as Air India have been authorized by the General Directorate of Civil Aviation (DGCA) to perform special flights to transport test kits, medicines, emergency equipment and Indians from abroad or foreigners visiting their country.

“Our pilots and cabin crew receive poor quality, poorly adjusted and fragile PPE which tears / disintegrates easily during rescue flights. Disinfectants are not supplied in sufficient quantities and the disinfection processes do not respect the industry best practices, “according to the Executive Pilots Association (EPA). ) stated in a letter to Puri.

“These shortcomings increase the risk of viral exposure and contamination of equipment – and may even lead to community transmission (stage 3) of COVID-19 infection among crew members, passengers and general public, because most of them reside in large residential companies “, It said.

The EPA said that Air India’s medical services department had chosen to “lock its doors and wash their hands” of the flight crew in the midst of a pandemic.

Given that the carrier’s medical service has decided to work from home and to limit its services to telephone calls only, the association asked the minister that the doctors, ambulances and infrastructure of the department be available 24/7 to support the flight crew.

“This is the minimum level of support expected from an organization that sends its employees to the front line when it comes to biological risks,” he added.

The union also asked Puri to issue instructions that at least one senior medical, personnel and financial officer be on board each special flight to boost crew morale and better understand the requirements of the ground.

Taking senior executives from other departments on rescue flights would also lead to the creation of more efficient work processes related to the COVID-19 crisis, “which do not currently exist,” noted the EPA.

The union has stated that there is no additional insurance policy to cover the risks associated with COVID-19 for pilots and cabin crew who operate these rescue flights.

According to the union, the families of the pilots and crew members remained “extremely anxious and vulnerable” because the insurance companies can invoke the force majeure clause in the event of a massive COVID-19 epidemic to avoid paying ‘silver.

Force majeure is a clause in contracts which releases the parties from any liability or obligation due to an extraordinary event or circumstances beyond their control.

The EPA said: “Our theft allowances, which represent 70% of our total fees, have remained unpaid since January 2020 … To add insult to injury, we have also been recently informed by our management of a big pay cut while in the midst of the COVID-19 rescue operations mentioned above! “

Over the past few weeks, Air India has operated several flights to cities affected by coronaviruses such as Wuhan in China and Rome in Italy to bring stranded Indians back there.

Between Tuesday and Friday, the national carrier will operate nine flights to Frankfurt from Delhi and Mumbai to repel the Germans stranded in India amid the coronavirus shutdown.

The number of coronavirus cases in India rose to 1,071 and the death toll rose to 29 in India on Monday, according to the Union’s Ministry of Health.

Air India to operate eight cargo flights only on Tuesday

Air India will make eight flights on Tuesday to transport cargo through cities across the country as part of the 21-day ban imposed due to the coronavirus pandemic, a senior airline official said on Monday.

“As required by the Ministry of Civil Aviation, Air India will make three flights using the same A320 aircraft on the Mumbai-Delhi, Delhi-Guwahati and Guwahati-Mumbai route,” said the official.

The other three cargo flights will fly using another A320 on the Delhi-Hyderabad route, the Hyderabad-Chennai route and the Chennai-Delhi route, the official said.

India being subject to a 21-day travel ban beginning on March 25 to curb the spread of the coronavirus, all domestic and international commercial passenger flights have been suspended for this period.

However, cargo flights, special flights carried out with the approval of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), offshore helicopter operations and medical evacuation flights have been exempted from the ban on flight.

The Air India official said, “Another A320 would be used to transport cargo from Chennai to Port Blair. The plane would return to Chennai the same day.”

India is in shock from the coronavirus pandemic that has infected 1,171 people and killed 29 people so far in the country, according to the Union’s Ministry of Health.


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