As per reports, five Air India pilots, an engineer and a technician with no COVID-19 symptoms have tested positive for coronavirus. The affected Air India personnel have been asked to home quarantine themselves.
The positive tested pilots had operated one of the cargo flights ‘Boeing 787 Dreamliners’ to Guangzhou from Delhi on April 18 in order to pick up medical supplies. The airline also operated medical cargo flights to Shanghai and Hong Kong. Last time any of these flights were operated was on April 20.
As per reports, under the Vande Bharat mission, pilots now scheduled to rescue the stranded Indians from other countries, have become anxious of their layovers in places like New York, San Francisco, Washington, Chicago, London and Singapore, where the virus has been widely spread.
According to a NDTV report, the rescue-operation started from May 7 and Air India is expected to operate 64 flights in the first week to bring back around 15,000 stranded Indians. More than 1,90,000 Indians have registered for the flights back home.
The crew operating the repatriation flights is equipped with full PPE kit, which includes the hazmat suits, gloves, mask and goggles. Under the government guidelines for these repatriation flights, an airline crew has to undergo a swab test for coronavirus before and after they operate the flight.
Post flight, the crew has to wait for the test results, which take around 24-48 hours. During this duration, the crew stays at a hotel. If the crew members test negative, the airline car drop them to their residence, and take another test, after the five days of arrival. After testing negative again, with no possible symptoms of the virus, the crew is permitted for further flying duties.