Sunday, December 06, 2020

Despite Testing Positive for COVID -19, Air India Express Crew Member Allowed to Take Flight

New Delhi: Despite testing positive for the novel coronavirus disease, a senior cabin crew member of Air India Express was allowed to fly. The airlines was reportedly made aware of the 44-year-old employee’s status around 50 minutes before the flight operations began from Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International (IGI) airport. While admitting that the employee had tested positive, the airlines said it will investigate the matter further.

According to a Hindustan Times report, the woman employee took an RT-PCR test on November 12, the report for which was received before the scheduled flight from Delhi. The crew member’s report and her schedule for Friday (November 13) also showed that the employee even operated on the same sector and returned to Delhi (via the return flight). 

Even though, the employee was quarantined from the next day, the airline allowed her to operate the entire day on November 13. 

An Air India Express spokesperson said, “The said flight was a Delhi-Madurai flight, for which a pre-flight RT-PCR test is not mandatory. The head crew member was to operate the international sector the next day and hence had taken the test. However, she was quarantined from November 14 onwards and no other fellow crew members when tested were found infected. We will, however, surely investigate the matter.” The spokesperson, however, did not confirm if the infected employee was symptomatic or not.

According to reports, the airline officials have also tried to manipulate the employee’s report data in the scheduling system. “The system no longer showed that this senior employee had undergone the RT-PCR test on November 12, which meant that there would have been no (of the conducted test) on-record proof if the test report wasn’t accessed. Tampering already logged in data is illegal,” sources said.

A senior official reportedly said, “It’s true that a crew member can operate few domestic flights until his/her test reports are awaited. This is done in order to avoid a situation of crew shortage for airlines. But, it is completely unacceptable that an airline got the crew member tested only two days before her international flight (as per the statement by the airline, the crew had to operate an international flight on November 14) and also goes ahead, allowing her to operate flights even when she is confirmed to be Covid-19 positive.”


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