close
Advertisement
Can't connect right now! retry

add The News to homescreen

tap to bring up your browser menu and select 'Add to homescreen' to pin the The News web app

Got it!

add The News to homescreen

tap to bring up your browser menu and select 'Add to homescreen' to pin the The News web app

Got it!

Covid-19 positive pilot flies Air India plane

National

May 31, 2020

ISLAMABAD: The Indian government had to face embarrassment on Saturday when the Airbus-A320 plane of Air India was returned midair en-route to Moscow from New Delhi whose pilot was coronavirus patient and had earlier positive report.

According to reports it departed around 7.15 am for Moscow to bring back a group of stranded Indians under returned New Delhi by 12.30 pm following orders from the authorities without landing and picking any passenger. The configuration and type of the Indian plan was the same of PIA that met fatal crash on May 22 in Karachi.

Two senior bureaucrats confirmed that there was a 'lapse' on the part of officials responsible to scrutinise the coronavirus test reports of the crew members and that they did not look at the pilot's test results properly. As per standard operating procedure (SOP) pilots and other crew members of any flight are required to undergo mandatory testing for coronavirus and are assigned duties if the laboratory results are negative.

The Indian DGCA has already begun an investigation into the case based on a preliminary report by Air India. The plane with registration number VT-EXR and having only the crew members was in the airspace of Uzbekistan bordering with Russia when it was told to return. "In this case, the airline officials did not look at the pilot's test results properly and deemed him fit to fly, assuming that he is COVID-19 negative, even when the test results stated otherwise," said an official in the DGCA.

An Air India official said the plane was asked to return after the airline's team on the ground realised that one of the pilots tested positive for the infection. All crew members including the pilot with coronavirus infection have been quarantined, the officials said, adding the plane has already been sanitised.

Later in the day, the national carrier issued an official statement, saying: 'Air India this morning recalled its aircraft operating Delhi-Moscow (flight) without passengers immediately when it was noticed that one of the cockpit crew had tested positive in the pre-flight COVID test.' On return, immediately after landing all cockpit and cabin crew have been tested and all laid down medical precautions are being taken to ensure their health and safety.