The airline said resident welfare associations (RWAs) of crew who operated special flights to fly Indians stranded in corona hotspots like Wuhan, Italy and Japan are “obstructing them from performing their duty or even calling in the police, simply because the crew travelled abroad in the course of their duty.”
Air India has said it is following all precautions to ensure safety of everyone — crew and passengers on these flights — by proving them required personal protective equipment. It may be noted AI is the only Indian carrier that has operated special flights to bring back stranded Indian from China, Italy and Japan.
“We do not get our salary on time. We do not know when we will get the same. We do not think about ourselves whenever being called to fly to war zones and now corona hotspots to evacuate Indians. Our salary, which for months has not come on time, is being deducted and on top of this we are facing this ostracisation from our neighbours and RWAs. We are humans, don’t break us,” said a crew member on condition of anonymity.
Stickers placed outside homes of Air India crew members
Given the extent of the issue, AI issued a statement on Sunday saying: “… 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 one have been brought home safe and secure from affected countries thanks to the heroic efforts of these Air India crew.”
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“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,” the statement added.
AI has reiterated it is taking all possible “precaution to ensure the safety of its crew and protect their well being for each and every fight they have undertaken to fly to cities affected with Covid-19 with all essential and non-essential measures to arrest the spread of coronavirus amongst crew and passengers.”
The Maharaja ensures sufficient quantity of hand sanitisers, gloves and masks for crew and passengers are on board. Crew members coming to 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 corona case being on board.
In Video:Air India: Crew on flights to evacuate citizens from corona hotspots being ‘ostracized’