Friday, May 08, 2020

Efforts of 2,000 behind Air India Express flights that flew Malayalis home

Kochi: Things weren’t that easy during the lockdown and finally when two special Air India Express flights touched down in Cochin and Karipur international airports on Thursday ferrying Malayalis from Abu Dhabi and Dubai, it was a two-week-long coordinated efforts of over 2,000 people nation-wide that enabled the airliner to successfully undertake first phase of repatriation flights. The first phase of repatriation that began on May 7 will continue till May 13.

Right from identifying the flight crew to providing them accommodation and transporting them to the airports concerned during the lockdown period, the airliner had to ensure that all those involved in the mission strictly adhered to Covid safety protocol. “Our first challenge was to identify the crew for the mission who have been stuck at their homes.

We had to identify the right crew as these types of evacuation mission requires a specific temperament. We focused on bringing in crew that include pilots mostly from southern states as transporting crew from northern states wasn’t that easy during the lockdown,” said Air India Express Corporate Communications Chief P G Prageesh. He said nearly 2,000 people that include both direct and indirect associates of the airliner had to put in massive efforts for the evacuation mission.

Nearly 120 crew and 60 pilots have been pressed into service for the 22 flight services that will operate to four airports-Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi, Kozhikode and Kannur. “We conducted thorough health checkups of all the crew and their blood samples have been collected for analysis. They have been asked to follow strict self-sterilization guideline once their blood has been collected for tests,” Prageesh said.
The crew was given counselling to handle passengers who will be travelling under stress

“Majority of the crew voluntarily came forward to be a part of the mission. The aircraft for the services have been under preparation for the last one week as it involved detailed disinfection protocols,” said Prageesh.
08/05/20 Ajay Kanth/New Indian Express
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