Indian airline pilots seek 'Frontline Worker' status after deaths of 17 pilots due to COVID-19

A few days ago a pilots' body of Air India had urged the airlines to vaccinate family members too on priority. Now, a body of India's airline pilots has demanded 'frontline worker' status to its members, seeking all Covid-19 related benefits that go with the tag. The package includes priority vaccination, insurance coverage, and compensation.

As per a NDTV report, the pilots body has cited 17 deaths occured due to COVID-19, 13 of them since February 2021 alone.

In a plea filed before the Bombay High Court, the Federation of Indian Pilot has sought the creation of a separate category, "Air Transportation Workers", under the 'frontline worker' tag.

In a statement, the federation said, "To date, there is no scheme for adequate compensation to pilots in case of their demise. There is no insurance or any other such scheme providing a safety net to pilots. Hence, by this petition filed in public interest, the petitioner seeks to agitate the cause of pilots who have rendered incessant national service for the past more than 14 months."

The body has 5,619 members working for airlines such as Air India, SpiceJet, IndiGo, Reliance Commercial, Go Air, Saudia, and Vistara.

To be noted, 1,995 personnel had tested positive in Air India with 583 needing hospitalisation till February 2021. Over 2.21 million passengers were repatriated through the airline's 16,306 Vande Bharat flights till that month.

Accorrdingly, the pilots now want the government to define air insurance payable to those of them operating scheduled and non-scheduled Vande Bharat flights.

Besides priority vaccination, the pilots have demanded death or permanent medical unfitness compensation under the government's new insurance schemes, independent of any other life insurance policies they may have.

(To receive our E-paper on whatsapp daily, please click here. We permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)

Free Press Journal