A senior Air India Express’ cabin crew was on duty despite testing the airline company being aware that she was tested positive for Covid-19 an hour before taking the flight.
The airline admitted to the fact that the employee was tested positive for Covid-19 and said that the matter would be investigated, a report in the Hindustan Times said.
The 44-year-old employee of the airline company had underwent RT-PCR test on November 12, the report, however, came just before the scheduled flight the next day from Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International (IGI) airport.
The covid-19 test results came on November 13 showed that the employee had operated on the day and had returned to her base station via return flight, the report said. The employee was quarantined the next day, but she was on duty the entire day on November 13.
“The said flight was a Delhi-Madurai flight, for which a pre-flight RT-PCR test is not mandatory. The head crew member was to operate the international sector the next day and hence had taken the test. However, she was quarantined from November 14 onwards and no other fellow crew members when tested were found infected. We will, however, surely investigate the matter,” an Air India Express spokesperson reportedly said. However, it is not certain whether the employee was symptomatic or not.
It has also came to be known that the officials tried to manipulate the employee’s report data in the scheduling system. “The system no longer showed that this senior employee had undergone the RT-PCR test on November 12, which meant that there would have been no (of the conducted test) on-record proof if the test report wasn’t accessed. Tampering already logged in data is illegal,” sources said.
“It’s true that a crew member can operate few domestic flights until his/her test reports are awaited. This is done in order to avoid a situation of crew shortage for airlines. But, it is completely unacceptable that an airline got the crew member tested only two days before her international flight (as per the statement by the airline, the crew had to operate an international flight on November 14) and also goes ahead, allowing her to operate flights even when she is confirmed to be Covid-19 positive,” a senior official reportedly said.
According to an expert, it is a blatant violation of safety norms and Covid-19 protocol and the head of flight safety must be made responsible for the issue. “A detailed inquiry must be initiated to check the symptoms of the head crew member and also whether she was forced to take the flight,” Vipul Saxena, aviation expert said.