Mumbai, April 2: A crew member of Air India who was onboard one of the evacuation flights between Mumbai and Newark in the United States was tested positive for coronavirus on Thursday. She has been admitted to Kasturba hospital in Mumbai. The staffer is a resident of Vasai-Virar, a suburb of Mumbai and was servicing the Newark- Mumbai flight which operated on March 2, reported Hindustan Times. Air India Crew, Who Operated Flights to Coronavirus-Hit Countries to Rescue Stranded Indians, Complain of Substandard Protective Gear, Lack of Sanitizers.
It is the second instance of an Air India staffer testing positive. Last week, a woman customer care of the airline's cargo handling subsidiary- AI Airport Services(AI APS), was admitted to a hospital after she got infected from the deadly virus. The national carrier then asked 14 of its employees to go into home quarantine.
Air India operated special evacuation flights to China, Germany, Iran and Israel. The national carrier is also expected to operate more flights to countries like USA, UK and Canada. Air India Chairman and Managing Director Rajiv Bansal said, “Since we are operating very few flights, we have a large number of cabin crew and cockpit crew available. So, we are able to provide them with that gap so that they can be under home quarantine and only then come to do their duty on the next flight. Every kind of support is being given to them.” COVID-19 Effect: Air India Suspends Contract of Around 200 Employees.
Recently, Air India who visited coronavirus-hit parts in China, Japan, Iran and Italy to evacuate stranded Indians, wrote to the Ministry of Civil Aviation, complaining about the poor quality of personal protective equipment (PPE) that they are given during rescue operations. Two Air India pilot unions also alleged that "sub-standard" protective equipment was provided to crew on recent rescue flights that were operated in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.