Saturday, March 21, 2020

Air India crew to get hazmat suits

Mumbai: Air India has become the first and only Indian carrier to provide all its pilots and flight attendants operating all flights with Hazmat suit, complete with goggles, gloves, mask and shoe covers. The suits will be placed in the cockpit and will be used only when a suspect passenger or crew on board the flight falls ill or shows symptoms like fever, cough, difficulty in breathing. Air India will also be carrying two extra pair of suits, one for the suspect passenger and another for the caregiver, said sources.

On board a Boeing 777 which operates ultra long haul flights, like Mumbai-Newark for instance, there will be a total of 40 Hazmat suits, 8 for pilots, 2 for passengers and the rest for each cabin crew member. On an A320, which operates domestic flights, there will be 16 Hazmat suits. ``The crew will use the suit only when they suspect a passenger to be infected. If there is no suspected coronavirus passenger/crew on board, then the crew will not wear the suits. But they have to strictly wear their surgical masks and gloves throughout the flight,’’ said the source. An Air India spokesperson confirmed the development saying that bulk orders for the Hazmat suits have been placed. These will be placed on board the high-risk flights first and then eventually all flights will be covered, the official said, adding that they have begun uploading these suits onboard certain flights already.

Apart from the suit, each flight will be carrying an additional 50 pairs of gloves and 50 pairs of masks, the official added. The airline had issued detailed instructions to its crew on use, disposal of these suits and other safety gear in bio hazard disposal bags. If a COVID positive passenger happens to have travelled on board a flight or if the crew develops symptoms like fever above 99.5 degree F, cough or shortness of breath then the concerned crew members will be home quarantined, said another note issued to crew by AI medical department. The airline issued a series of notes and circulars in the past two days detailing does and donts for crew on its international and domestic flights. An
21/03/20 Manju V/Times of India
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