Air India Chief says evacuation of Indian passengers from Wuhan was challenging

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With Air India preparing to operate flights to evacuate Indians from Wuhan in the wake of the coronavirus epidemic, a pilots’ union of the carrier on Wednesday said the airline cannot afford any mistakes and risk spreading the infection.


In a letter to Air India chief Ashawini Lohani, the Indian Pilots’ Guild (IPG) said the mission would be quite different from usual rescue and relief efforts, and presents new challenges as well as obstacles to overcome.


“Due to the long incubation period of this virus, post mission support for all personnel and equipment involved in this mission is crucial well after the completion of a flight,” it said.


Two flights are set to be operated to bring back Indian nationals from China’s Hubei province, the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak.


Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said the Chinese government has been requested for permission to operate these two flights.


“All staff and operating crew involved in the exercise need to be given the best protective equipment available and training to keep all men and material safe during the flight,” it added.


As many as 132 people have died in China due to the outbreak and there are around 6,000 confirmed infections.

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