COVID-19: Aviation min seeks protection for harassed airline crew

Airline employees were ostracised by their communities as a result of their "line of duty and travel history"

Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri, Uttar Pradesh, stranded migrants, migrant workers, Lockdown, COVID-19
Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri stressed that the incident underlines the necessity for states receiving migrants to allow limited air, road and rail travel. File photo: PTI

As India’s two major airlines IndiGo and Air India reported harassment of their crew members by neighbours amid coronavirus pandemic, Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said on Tuesday (March 24) that he has “requested” authorities concerned to extend all possible support and protection to the crew and their family members.

Amid major disruption due to the coronavirus outbreak in the aviation sector, IndiGo had stated on Monday (March 23) that there have been some instances where its employees were ostracised by their communities as a result of their “line of duty and travel history”.

Air India had stated on Sunday (March 22) that vigilante resident welfare associations (RWAs) and neighbours were ostracising and calling police on its crew members who went abroad as a part of their duty.

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Puri on Tuesday tweeted, “Deeply distressed to know that some aviation professionals who have been at the forefront of India’s efforts to prevent and contain the spread of coronavirus & even rescue fellow citizens from COVID-19 around the world are being harassed by their neighbours, RWAs (resident welfare associations) and others.”

“I respect the selfless commitment and determination of our professionals and have requested concerned authorities to extend all possible help, support and protection to them and their families including to those who are in self-quarantine,” the minister stated.

India has banned all international flights for one week beginning from Sunday. The government announced on Monday that no domestic flight will be allowed to fly post Tuesday midnight.

However, cargo flights, medical evacuation flights, flights of state governments, and flights specifically approved by aviation regulator DGCA will continue to operate as usual at Indian airports.

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