Indian pilots plead for better compensation for colleagues who died from Covid.

The union said Air India pays around 500,000 to 1 million rupees ($ 6,800 to 13,700) in compensation to the family if a pilot dies from Covid-19 in the line of duty. The number, he said, was a fraction of what other airlines paid and might be just enough to cover the hospital bills of a deceased colleague. Indigo, a private airline, was paying 50 million rupees, or more than $ 680,000, the union said in one of its letters.

The union said it had sent repeated requests to the government asking that flight crews be given priority for vaccinations. In a letter to India’s Minister of Health, Dr Harsh Vardhan, on April 16, the union urged the government to recognize crew members as “essential workers”.

“We urge you to vaccinate all aircrew as soon as possible,” he said.

Two Air India pilots who requested anonymity for fear of government retaliation said they were frustrated with how their calls for better compensation and protest against wage cuts had fallen on their ears. ‘a deaf one. They also said they feared being exposed to new variants of the virus circulating in other countries while doing their jobs.

Despite all of this, the pilots said they were receiving salaries that were almost 40 to 70% lower than what they were receiving before the pandemic. The pay cuts went into effect in April of last year as world travel halted.

Hardeep Singh Puri, India’s Minister of Civil Aviation, said the country’s Vande Bharat mission to evacuate Indians was “the world’s largest repatriation campaign”, carrying more than 9 million people to date. “India has not curled up in the face of this century-old health crisis,” he said in a statement. Tweeter Tuesday.

But neither Mr. Puri nor Air India responded to requests from their pilots. The Ministry of Civil Aviation in New Delhi did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

In May, the union wrote a letter to Air India, asking company executives to show “similar kindness” to what it showed when it asked its pilots to report to work. when he needed to save Indians from some of the hardest hit areas. around the world, especially in the United States, China and Italy.

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