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Five Air India pilots, two staff members test positive for coronavirus

The pilots fly Boeing 787 planes; the last time they had operated any flight was on April 20
Stranded Indians in an Air India flight en route to New Delhi on Sunday, March 15, 2020

PTI   |   Mumbai   |   Published 10.05.20, 11:16 AM

Five Air India pilots and two employees of the national carrier’s engineering services subsidiary AIESL have tested positive for coronavirus, airline sources said on Sunday.

Air India, which is operating flights to evacuate Indians stranded in foreign countries, has asked its pilots to take the coronavirus test before they operate such flights, the sources said.

“Five Air India pilots have tested positive for coronavirus. These pilots were tested one after one. We suspect it could be a case of faulty testing kit as well,” one of the sources told news agency PTI.

The five pilots fly Boeing 787 planes, the second source said.

A senior airline official said the five pilots had not operated any flight in the past three weeks. “These pilots had operated cargo flights to China prior to April 20,” the official said.

An Air India spokesperson did not offer any comment.

Engineering division hit

A technician and a tow-tug operator/ driver working with the Air India Engineering Services Ltd (AIESL) have also tested positive for coronavirus, the sources said.

These employees were working at the aircraft hangar of a non-schedule operator at the Mumbai airport. They were found to be infected during tests done on May 7, they added.

Regarding two staffers of AIESL testing positive for coronavirus, the non-scheduled operator had informed the company in a recent email.

Per the email, seen by PTI, the operator said that outsourced MRO (maintenance, repair and overhaul) personnel attending its aircraft are also tested for coronavirus infection.

“AIESL personnel are also being tested in a phased manner. The results of tests conducted on May 7 have been received and two AIESL personnel have tested Covid-19 positive,” the engineering head of the operator said in the email to the AIESL CEO.

“We request you to kindly take action as per your company policy. You are requested to note that these personnel shall not be allocated to our aircraft till they are cured and not without our concurrence,” the email said.

AIESL CEO H.R. Jagannath was not immediately available for comment.


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