Chennai

At the airport, they work tirelessly

The housekeeping staff at Chennai airport play key role in keeping the premises clean.   | Photo Credit: SPECIALARRANGEMENT

Domestic and international flights may have been suspended in the wake of the COVID-19 lockdown, but a few aircraft do land and take off from the Chennai International Airport. Passengers arrive and depart on repatriation flights, though nowhere close to the levels witnessed pre-lockdown.

To keep the airport running smoothly, housekeeping personnel, among others, head to work every day. They see themselves as front line workers in tackling the pandemic.

Take, for instance, Manimala, 38, a housekeeping worker at the airport. For her, her 55-year-old mother, Palaniammal, a housekeeping staff at Guindy, is an inspiration. Ms. Manimala, who has been working at the airport for the last three years, is proud to be a front line worker. “Passengers who are stranded at various places arrive in and leave from the city. It is our duty to keep them safe when they step inside the airport. Once a passenger shook hands with me to appreciate my work. I think that was the biggest compliment. I will always cherish that gesture,” she said.

M. Angalamma, 35, also a housekeeping staff, said that in the course of her eight-hour shift, everything from glass panels to restrooms are part of her cleaning routine. She insisted that she did not fear contracting the virus. “I’m well protected. I clean the restrooms every half hour and wash my hands after. I never enter the airport without a mask or gloves and wear them throughout my shift. I bathe once I reach home. So, I don’t feel the need to be scared. I must not shun my duties, especially when it concerns hygiene of a transport hub,” she added.

R. Jhansi, a 30-year-old supervisor at the airport, said that usually there are 70 workers, but now they manage with 30, who take turns.

While many see restrooms as high-risk areas, especially during a pandemic, V. Anbarasan, 24, sees it simply as a job that must be done for the well-being of others. “If we are equipped with gloves and masks, there is nothing to worry. I’m glad to be on the front line and do this bit for society. I’ll continue to do it to the best of my ability,” he added.

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Printable version | Oct 31, 2020 7:09:53 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/at-the-airport-they-work-tirelessly/article31618355.ece

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