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COVID-19: Five Air India pilots test positive

Representational image   | Photo Credit: Arunangsu Roy Chowdhury

Five of the 77 Air India crew members who took COVID-19 tests to enable them to operate Vande Bharat Mission repatriation flights have tested positive. 

The five, all Mumbai-based pilots, had operated cargo flights between Guangzhou and Delhi carrying medical supplies and equipment in April. Four of them had been rostered together, two pilots for each sector to China.

Also read: Coronavirus | Air India pilots flag poor protective equipment

The four flew together and returned from China within hours, not once leaving the cockpit, airline sources said. All the five operate the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.

While an official statement from Air India is awaited, informed sources said all the five were asymptomatic and had been home quarantined as per guidelines. 

“Though these Mumbai-based pilots had operated cargo flights between Guangzhou and Delhi, officials said it was unlikely that they had gotten exposed to the virus on duty since it had been close to 20 days since the flight,” one of their fellow pilots said.

Also read: COVID-19 | SpiceJet pilot tests positive, staff sent on home quarantine

Two of the five pilots had operated flights on April 18, while the others flew even earlier. 

Air India has been operating through the lockdown period, initially rescuing Indians stranded in coronavirus-affected nations, including Italy and Iran. 

Two test positive 

Meanwhile, officials said two staff members of the Air India Engineering Services Limited (AIESL) had tested positive on May 7. These two, a technician and a driver, had gone to the hangar of a private jet operator, some of whose private aircraft are maintained by AIESL engineers within Mumbai airport premises. The tests were conducted by the corporate house. The firm has asked its staff to self quarantine following the development. The two AIESL staff too are asymptomatic.

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Printable version | May 17, 2021 4:33:06 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/covid-19-five-air-india-pilots-test-positive/article31549314.ece

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