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Pilots in India Seek Better Payouts for Colleagues Killed by Covid

The union mentioned Air India was paying about 500,000 to 1 million rupees ($6,800 to $13,700) as compensation to the household if a pilot died of Covid-19 whereas performing their duties. The quantity, it mentioned, was a fraction of what different airways paid and may be simply sufficient to handle a deceased colleague’s hospital payments. Indigo, a non-public airline, was paying 50 million rupees or greater than $680,000, the union mentioned in one among its letters.

The union mentioned that it had despatched repeated requests to the federal government asking that flight crews be prioritized for vaccinations. In a letter addressed to India’s well being minister, Dr. Harsh Vardhan, on April 16, the union urged the federal government to acknowledge crew members as “essential workers.”

“We urge you to vaccinate all aircrew at the earliest,” it mentioned.

Two Air India pilots who requested anonymity fearing reprisals from the federal government mentioned they have been pissed off by the best way their calls for higher compensation and protesting wage cuts had fallen on deaf ears. They additionally mentioned they feared being uncovered to new variants of the virus circulating in different nations whereas doing their jobs.

Despite all of that, the pilots mentioned they have been being paid salaries that have been practically 40 to 70 % lower than what they acquired earlier than the pandemic. The pay cuts got here into impact in April final year as world journey got here to a halt.

Hardeep Singh Puri, India’s civil aviation minister, has mentioned that the nation’s Vande Bharat Mission to evacuate Indians was the “world’s largest” repatriation drive, transporting greater than 9 million folks to date. “India did not cower in the face of this health crisis of the century,” he mentioned in a tweet on Tuesday.

But neither Mr. Puri nor Air India have responded to their pilots’ requests. The Ministry of Civil Aviation in New Delhi didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark.

In May, the union wrote a letter to Air India, asking company executives to point out “a similar kindness” to what it confirmed when it requested its pilots to point out up for responsibility when it wanted to rescue Indians from among the worst-affected areas in the world, together with the United States, China and Italy.