It is sad to consider the working condition of airline frontline employees such as pilots and cabin crew, apart from ground services such as handlers, dispatchers and loaders, who have been operating flights for over a year without any safeguards apart from mask and PPE, and frequent testing. Just last week, all the 242 passengers and crew on an Amritsar – Rome flight operated by Air India were put into quarantine as 30 passengers and two crew (the captain and the lead cabin crew) tested positive. There has been a continuous request from the aviation fraternity in India to declare them as frontline workers to be eligible for the vaccination sooner. However, the demand has fallen on deaf ears so far.
There was going to be a breaking point. And it arrived. One of Air India’s pilot unions today shot off a missive to the airline’s management, enlisting their problems and asking them to take immediate steps to vaccinate the flying crew of Air India. You can read the letter enclosed.
What followed was, however, one of the quickest decisions in the history of Air India. The airline has declared that it will commence and finish the vaccination of all employees within May 2021. The airline has already vaccinated many of its crew above 45 years of age, so this primarily applies to people between the 18-44 age bracket. I assume when the airline states it will complete vaccination, it means the first dose and not both the doses. All Air India employees will also get a two-day leave after their vaccination.
Air India will vaccinate all its employees in May 2021 with the first dose of the vaccine after a strike was threatened by the flight crew today. However, what would have been better, would have also been included the employees’ families. They are the bio-bubble of the employees, and it makes it a safer environment when all in the home are vaccinated.
Do you think Air India will stick to the timeline of vaccinating its employees? Have other Indian airlines started the vaccination in earnest yet?
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