Tuesday, May 04, 2021

Air India to vaccinate all staff, including flying crew, by May end

Mumbai: Air India will begin a vaccination drive for its employees early next week and my May end all of its staff, including pilots and cabin crew, will be vaccinated, said a highly placed Air India official on Tuesday.

Early in the day, Air India pilots’ union had threatened to `stop work’ if the airline failed to set up vaccination camps across India so that flying crew both above and below the age of 45 years could get the life-saving shots.

"We are in no position to continue risking the lives of our pilots without vaccination," said the letter sent by Capt T Praveen Keerthi, general secretary, Indian Commercial Pilots’ Association (ICPA) to Capt R S Sandhu, Air India director (operations) on Tuesday.

The letter, marked also to the airline chairman and managing director and a host of other aviation government top brass, said that "many crew have been diagnosed Covid positive and are struggling to get oxygen cylinders. We are left to fend for ourselves for hospitalization.." The pilots were left with ``no health care support, no insurance, and a massive opportunistic pay cut..Our finances are already spread thin covering our bedridden colleagues and provisioning for families lest we inadvertently infect them with the deadly virus that is an ever-present occupational hazard for us," the letter said.

A top official from Air India revealed that the airline will be announcing a vaccination program for its employees soon. ``We will begin the vaccination drive early next week. It will cover all employees, including pilots and cabin crew. We hope to cover all by May end,’’ the official said. An official statement on this is awaited. Currently, government vaccination drives across India has been hit due to vaccine shortage. It was not known whether the Air India drive will put the staff who cannot work from home, like pilots and cabin crew, in the priority category for vaccination.

04/05/21 Manju V/Times of India

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