COVID-19: Air India pilots' unions assure govt of full support

Mumbai, Mar 26 (PTI) Air India pilots' unions, IPG an ICPA, have said their members will support the government and will operate any special flight irrespective of the extent of the coronavirus pandemic.

In a joint letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Indian Pilots Guild (IPG) and Indian Commercial Pilots Association (ICPA) said, Air India pilots note with 'admiration' the proactive way in which the government has been working round the clock to combat the coronavirus pandemic.

On Tuesday, Modi announced that the entire country would be going under a 21-day lockdown. He said this lockdown is very important for India to fight against novel coronavirus and control its spread.

'Air India as the national carrier has always been proud to fulfill a myriad of diverse and challenging missions, whenever required by the government to fulfill this obligation,' the two pilot unions said a joint letter on Wednesday.

The IPG represents Boeing fleet pilots while the ICPA has its members from the Airbus fleet in the flag carrier.

The national carrier has operated a series of rescue flights including to Wuhan in China, Japan, Milan and Rome in Italy to evacuate Indians stranded at these places.

Besides, Air India operated a relief flight to Tel Aviv to take the Israeli nationals back to their country due to coronavirus outbreak.

Of late, budget carrier SpiceJet announced operating a flight from Delhi to fly 142 Indians to Jodhpur, who were evacuated from Iran following the COVID-19 outbreak there.

Similarly, another no-frills airline, IndiGo has on its part offered the government its aircraft and crew to facilitate transportation of medical equipment within the country.

These announcements came only after the grounding of their entire fleet in the wake of temporary suspension of all commercial flights.

Air India pilots have remained loyal to the company despite all the mismanagement and hardships that are 'plaguing' it, the letter said adding 'our pilots are ready and willing to go above and beyond to support you in this monumental endeavour'. PTI IAS RAM DRR DRR DRR