Sunday, April 25, 2021

Three-day wait for Covid charters, cost up 3 times

Mumbai: In the past two weeks, charter aircraft fitted with patient isolation pods and oxygen concentrators to fly Covid patients have been in such demand that if you book one today, your patient gets to board only after two to three days, said industry sources.

“For 15 days, we reduced production at our stainless steel plant in Pithampur to provide 1,200-1,500 oxygen cylinders daily free. Yet, we could not get an air ambulance without a wait of about three days,’’ said Brijesh Agrawal, who flew his Covid positive and diabetic 83-year old grandfather from Agra to Indore this week for Rs 9 lakh. “He was in Mathura, but because Indore has better medical facilities, and our family is here too, we booked the charter,’’ he added.

Others who booked charter flights for Covid patients in the past two days were charged triple the cost. A charter operator said, “A patient was charged Rs 24 lakh to fly from Indore to Chennai.” The fee charged by the doctor onboard has also gone up. “Earlier doctors charged Rs 35,000-Rs 45,000 per trip on a regular air ambulance. Now it has gone up to Rs 2-3 lakh for a Covid air ambulance charter flight,’’ said a source.

25/04/21 Times of India

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