Thursday, April 02, 2020

Air India hostess who operated New York-Mumbai flight tests positive for corona

New Delhi: An Air India hostess who last operated a New York-Mumbai scheduled flight on March 20 has tested positive for coronavirus. The Mumbai-based cabin crew member is currently admitted to the city’s Kasturba Hospital and the airline’s crew union is trying to get her shifted to Raheja Hospital.

AI’s pilots and cabin crew have complained about the poor quality of personal protective equipment (PPE) given to them as the airline has since January 31 been operating flights to evacuate Indians from corona epicentre Wuhan and then other hotspots like Japan, Italy and Germany. It has also operated flights to Tel Aviv to fly out Israelis from India.

The airline is likely to operate evacuation flights to US and UK in comings days to fly out foreigners stranded in India. AI pilots are yet t get their flying allowance of January, which comprises almost 70% of their total pay.

Given the high risk of exposure, AI’s crew recently complained of poor quality of PPE. Crew members there have been occasions when hazmat suits have got ruptured on these flights. Indian Pilots’ Guild, union of erstwhile Air India (before with Indian Airlines), wrote to airline chairman Rajiv Bansal last Saturday (March 28), saying: “During our recent rescue flights, the protective equipment being provided to the flight crew has been failing with an alarming frequency or has been plagued with other issues. For example, shoe covers have failed in as little as 10 minutes, gloves in 3 hours, hand sanitisers on board have not been provided in sufficient quantity, hazmat suits have been ill fitting and (are) available only in limited quantity increasing the risk of rupture.”
02/04/20 Saurabh Sinha/Times of India
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