Wednesday, January 20, 2021

'Give priority to airport staffers for Covid jabs'

New Delhi: The Association of Private Airport Operators (APAO) has asked the health ministry to include all airport employees in the priority list for Covid vaccination drive “to ensure the wellbeing of both the staff members as well as the traveling public.”

Pointing out that people working at airports “have been frontline warriors … even as they faced dual risks of infection and social ostracism given the panic in the broader society during the time (early months of Covid),” the association has told the government “inoculating airport staff would help minimise possible risk of infection during air travel due to asymptomatic carriers.”

Scheduled domestic air travel is beginning to revive and international operations are happening under air bubble arrangements wither 20 countries and Vande Bharat Mission. “With the government’s focus on unlocking the broader economy, there has been an increasing trend in air travel as well… daily footfalls at the nation’s airports (are) consistently exceeding 4 lakh in recent days,” APAO secretary-general Satyan Nayar has said in a letter to Union health minister Dr Harsh Vardhan.

APAO members are the PPP airports at Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Cochin, and greenfield airports coming up in Navi Mumbai and Mopa in Goa. These airports together handle over 60% of India’s total air passenger and 70% of air cargo traffic.

20/01/21 Saurabh Sinha/Times of India

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