Vigilante groups ostracise Air India crew

NEW DELHI, MAR 22 (IANS) | Publish Date: 3/22/2020 1:38:30 PM IST

Air India on Sunday said that its crew who have been successfully evacuating stranded Indians in several coronavirus-hit countries are being ostracised by vigilante groups including their neighbours and Resident Welfare Associations (RWA).

In a statement, the national carrier appealed to law enforcement agencies that its crew members are treated with respect as every other citizen.
It said that the airline has taken every precaution to ensure the safety of its crew and protect their well being for each and every flight.
“However, it is alarming to note that in many localities, vigilante Resident Welfare Associations and neighbours have started ostracising the crew, obstructing them from performing their duty or even calling in the police, simply because the crew travelled abroad in the course of their duty. These vigilantes have conveniently forgotten that many a spouse, parent, sibling, child and near and dear ones have been brought home safe and secure from affected countries thanks to the heroic efforts of these Air India crew,” the Air India statement said.
“We would like to appeal to all concerned, particularly the law enforcement agencies, to ensure that our crew are treated with the courtesy, respect and freedom that every citizen of this country deserves especially in light of the fact of their having undertaken flight duties to affected countries to bring back Indian citizens.”
In January 2020, guidelines for crew members and operational staff were issued by Air India Medical wherein a detailed protocol to handle passengers and self-care was formulated. Air India has always ensured that sufficient hand sanitisers, gloves and masks for the crew as well as for passengers are made available on board, it said, adding that crew members who are landing in India from affected cities are sent on home quarantine and also to designated hospitals for check-up as part of the protocol.
Hazmat suits are also placed in the cockpit for use in aircraft by crew in the event of any suspect COVID-19 on board.
“These thorough safety measures have been providing adequate protection to our crew, who have been discharging their duties in as selfless a way like doctors or nurse, paramedics and other agencies who are out in the field for fellow Indians,” it said.
In the past couple of months Air India has played a critical role in bringing back stranded Indians from several countries affected by the coronavirus crisis. On Sunday, a Boeing 777 aircraft of Air India brought back 263 Indians from Rome.

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