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‘Air India pilots, crew will have to stop work if they are not vaccinated on priority’

Forum Gandhi Mumbai | Updated on May 04, 2021

The Civil Aviation Ministry has allowed flights to operate up to 80% of the capacity JENNIFER GAUTHIER

The pilots’ association has written to AI stating that unless vaccination camps are organised for flying crew, they would stop work

The Indian Commercial Pilots’ Association (ICPA) has warned that Air India’s pilots and crew will have to ‘stop work’ if they aren’t vaccinated on ‘priority basis’ for Covid-19.

In a letter to Captain R. S. Sandhu, Director (Operations), Air India Ltd, the secretary of the association said with no healthcare support to the flying crew, no insurance, and a massive opportunistic pay cut “we are in no position to continue risking the lives of our pilots without vaccination.”

ICPA said it is disheartening to witness the top management make a mockery of pilots discharging their duties in a risky environment. “We were hoping that Air India will not let down the crew and their families who stand by the nation during this pandemic, but the management never ceases to surprise us,” it explained.

The Indian government has opened up vaccination drives for those above the age of 18. However, several hospitals across the country are either struggling with vaccine slots or stock.

Air India’s pilots and crew have demanded that they need to be vaccinated on priority basis. “If Air India fails to set up vaccination camps on a pan-India basis for flying crew above the age of 18 years on priority, we will “STOP WORK.”

The employees who are doing desk jobs and the majority opting to work from home are allowed to get vaccinated, leaving the flying crew vulnerable. Recently, several members of the crew tested positive for Covid on an Air India flight. The pilots and crew are working on a salary cut, right now.

“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.”

“We feel let down by the self-serving approach of the management, which sees no injustice in organising vaccine camps at few bases but excludes pilots,” it added.

Published on May 04, 2021

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