Air India Express on Friday operated India’s first international flight with fully vaccinated crew. The low cost arm of AI operated Delhi-Dubai (IX 191) with the pilots and the cabin crew having received both there Covid jabs. Earlier this week, Vistara had operated India’s first domestic flight on Delhi-Mumbai-Delhi route with fully vaccinated crew.
Air India Express, India’s leading budget carrier, operated the first international flight from the country with fully vaccinated crew on June 18 on Delhi – Dubai sector. The pilots and the cabin crew of IX 191, which took off from Delhi at 10:40 am, had received both doses of their COVID-19 vaccine,” said an official doses of their COVID-19 vaccine,” said an official release by the airline.
“We have vaccinated almost all eligible crew members and frontline staff not only to ensure their safety and health but also to make our passengers feel safe and reassured as they fly with us. AI Express had operated India’s first Vande Bharat Mission (VBM) flight which on May 7 from Abu Dhabi to the country,” Air India Express said in a statement.
According to the airline, Captains DR Gupta and Alok Kumar Nayak and cabin crew members — Venkat Kella, Praveen Chandra, Pravin Chougle and Manisha Kamble are fully vaccinated ahead of working in the aircraft. As per updates, the same crew members will operate the return flight IX 196, on Dubai – Jaipur – Delhi sector.
All Indian carriers and other aviation sector players like airport operators are vaccinating their employees, starting with the frontline workers like operating crew, airport staff and others. A number of airline crew members and other employees have lost their lives after getting infected with Covid in the line of duty. For several months, airlines have been seeking frontline worker status for their employees so that they get priority in getting the jabs.
But the severe shortage of Covid vaccines meant that these frontline workers — across all airlines, both government-owned Air India and private players — also had to wait for a long time to get the jabs. Unfortunately, this delay saw many employees of several airlines and airports losing their lives to the deadly virus.