NEW DELHI: Air India will complete the first dose of COVID vaccination of all its employees by end of this month, said the national carrier’s spokesperson on Tuesday.
“Air India extends full support to the efforts of the government to fight the pandemic and ensure the safety of all its employees. In the last few days, Air India has lost valued employees in the second wave of the coronavirus. Air India has already held vaccination camps in office premises for vaccination of 45 years and above employees,” read the airline’s statement.
“24-hour telemedicine, care-at-home robust dedicated helpline having a strong team of more than 100 employees manning it is in place to cater to COVID-related medical requirements of employees. Discussions were already on for the vaccination of all AI employees, including the crew. As the guidelines did not allow vaccination of persons below 45 years of age, AI could not complete the vaccination,” it said.
Air India’s move comes after Captain T Praveen Keerthi, General Secretary of the pilots’ union of Air India, Indian Commercial Pilots Association (ICPA) on Tuesday raised an issue with Air India Director Captain R S Sandhu about their guidelines of COVID-19 vaccination drive across India which excludes pilots.
“Since from May 1, 2021, all persons 18 years and above can be vaccinated, a schedule for vaccination is now being drawn up and it is expected to commence as early as next week and all employees will be vaccinated by end of this month that is May 2021. This will give a boost to our confidence of working for the nation with full zeal and commitment,” it adds.
In a letter to the Air India Director, Keerthi had threatened to “stop work” if the management fails to set up vaccination camps pan India for the flying crew above the age of 18 years.
Keerthi in his letter claimed that the management left their flying crew “vulnerable”.
He said, “We feel let down by the self-serving approach of the management, which sees no injustice in organising vaccine camps at few bases but excludes pilots. The employees who are doing desk jobs and the majority opting to work from home are allowed to get vaccinated, leaving the flying crew vulnerable.”
“If Air India fails to set up vaccination camps on a Pan India basis for the flying crew above the age of 18 years on priority, we will STOP WORK,” he added.