Pilots’ Body Demands Covid Frontline Worker Status

A federation of India’s airline pilots has demanded “frontline worker” status to its members, seeking the government for providing all Covid-related benefits that go with the status. The move has come after 17 deaths due to Covid-19 in this segment.

The body sought to include priority vaccination, insurance coverage and compensation, said a report by NDTV.

It reportedly claimed that 17 people lost their lives from the federation because of the pandemic over the last year, including 13 since February 2021 alone.

In a petition, the Federation of Indian Pilots, filed before the Bombay High Court, has demanded creating a separate category “Air Transportation Workers” for them under the ‘frontline worker’ tag.

In a statement, the federation said that there is currently no scheme to compensate pilots in case of their demise. Moreover, they don’t have any insurance or any other such scheme covered, ensuring a safety net. Therefore, by filing this PIL in the public interest, the petitioner seeks to “agitate the cause of pilots who have rendered continuous national service for the last 14 months.

Comprising 5,619 members, the Federation of Indian Pilots works for airlines like Air India, SpiceJet, IndiGo, Go Air, Vistara etc.

A total of 1,995 Air India Personnel, including Vande Bharat Crew, had tested positive for Covid-19, out of which 583 people had been hospitalised till February 1, reported The Economy Times. More than 2.21 million international passengers were flown back through the airline’s 16,306 flights under the Vande Bharat Mission till that month.

The pilots now urge the government to define air insurance policies payable to those who are operating scheduled and non-scheduled Vande Bharat flights. Additionally, the federation has also sought death or permanent medical compensation pointing out to the government’s new insurance policies or any other life insurance schemes they may have.

Last year, the Union Ministry of Health had announced life insurance schemes for frontline workers, especially health care workers who had died of Covid-19.

In the past two months, the federation had requested the government to include pilots on the frontline workers list.

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