Coronavirus deteriorates Air India finances but airline manages to keep afloat, says chief

Mumbai: Air India chief Rajiv Bansal on Thursday said that the “crippling effect” of coronavirus has further plummeted the airline’s finances to a “precarious” position but despite that, it has managed to keep afloat.

Bansal, in a message on Thursday, also assured the employees of providing all the “essential armoury” in carrying out evacuation and chartered flights amid the pandemic.

“Air India has been passing through a critical financial condition much before the Covid19 onslaught. The crippling effect of the pandemic, especially in the aviation sector, has further plummeted our finances to a precarious position. In spite of this, your airline has left no stone unturned to continue to remain afloat,” Bansal said in a message to Air India employees on Thursday.

Reminding the employees that the organisation is always with them during these trying times, he said, their safety and health are as important to the company as of its passengers.

“We are leaving no stone unturned to ensure you get all the essential armoury to fight this war. Our dedicated medical services team members are available round the clock for any consultation, advice or emergency. We are doing everything possible to minimise risk factors,” Bansal said.

Besides taking all the precautionary measures and providing PPE to ensure your safety, Air India was amongst the very few airlines in the world, who are providing hazmat suits and other protective equipment for its crew to equip them to face any COVID-related safety concern onboard, he said.

It was the first carrier to evacuate stranded Indian nationals from Coronvirus-hit Wuhan in China in January.

It is due to these precautionary measures that so far, only one of the airline’s crew members amongst so many, who have been flying our charter flights all over the world, has tested COVID positive, he added.

“I am relieved to inform you that she has also been discharged after full recovery under the watchful eyes of our medical department,” Bansal said.

In recent weeks, Air India has operated flights to Israel, Germany and London, using its wide-body Boeing 777s and B787s. These services were mainly to carry foreign nationals stranded in the country due to the lockdown, which began on March 25.

Stating that all of us in Air India, no doubt, are in this war together, Bansal said, “Adversity brings the best out of us and is a litmus test of our courage and strength of character. This is also the time to show how much we care for one another.”

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