Air India: 1/6th Of All Employees Tested +ve For COVID Till Feb 1

Air India COVID - aviatorsbuzz
Representational photograph showing COVID vaccines being loaded on an Air India aircraft in Pune. Source: Air India

National carrier Air India has been at the forefront of Vande Bharat repatriation missions being organised by the government to help people fly in and out of India during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Of its employees, a total of 1,995, which includes crew deployed for Vande Bharat repatriation missions, had contracted the virus till February 1, 2021, the government has said.

19 Air India Staff Succumbed

A sixth of the staff have contracted the COVID-19 virus, and 19 have died from it, civil aviation minister Hardeep Singh Puri was quoted by livemint.com as saying. Of the 1,995, a total of 583 were hospitalised, Mr. Puri informed the Parliament last week.

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Hardeep Singh Puri
Source: Wikipedia

The Union Civil Aviation Minister (Independent Charge) in a written reply told Parliament that though there have been no COVID-19 related fatalities among aircraft crew at Air India, 19 ground employees have died.

“The COVID-19 test for the crew is undertaken as per Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) issued by the medical department of Air India, which is based on advisory guidelines issued by the government from time to time,” Mr. Puri added.

As of 1 January, Air India had about 12,350 staff on its payroll, including 8,290 permanent staff and 4,060 contractual staff, according to data provided to livemint.com by an Air India spokesperson.

In January, Pradeep Singh Kharola, secretary, civil aviation, wrote to his counterpart in the health ministry to consider vaccinating frontline workers in the aviation sector on priority, acting upon a representation by airlines and airports. The proposal is being considered by the health ministry.

International carriers like Singapore Airlines and United Airlines, are considering getting all their employees vaccinated before jabs are rolled out for the general public. Etihad has already declared having ensured that 100% its flying crew on duty were vaccinated.

Aviation experts said a relaxed attitude towards maintaining social distancing norms at airports and inside the aircraft could see a resurgence of cases in India.

According to the Union Civil Aviation Ministry, 16,306 repatriation flights were operated by the Air India and Air India Express under the Vande Bharat Mission till February 7. They together carried over 22.17 lakh passengers. Of these, 8,151 were inbound flights carrying 13.11 lakh passengers and 8,155 were outbound flights with 9.06 lakh fliers.

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