A pilot who flew 164 passengers on a select flight from New Delhi, India to Sydney, Australia has been tested positive for the coronavirus upon landing in Sydney on June 20.
Air India’s authorities claimed that the passenger was tested four days before operating the flight – upon which he was found to be in good health. He was a last-minute choice for the flight as the pilot who was originally meant to fly these passengers had called in sick earlier.
Jaspreet Singh, an Australian resident who was on board the same flight, recounts what happened. He said that the flight was delayed by 6 hours in total, with boarding being delayed because of the airline waiting clearance from their engineers. After they had boarded, an announcement was made stating that their Captain had called in sick and they were to wait further till a pilot can be assigned to the plane.
The pilot, as well as the members in the cockpit, have been checked into quarantine in a hotel in Sydney. Air India issued a statement stating that while the cockpit crew is quarantined, the cabin crew has been allowed to return to India post mandatory tests to ensure safety.
Capt. R.S. Sandhu, who worked as the Executive Director (Operations) for Air India stated that they are doing all they can to mitigate transmission risks and to ensure everyone inside the plane is asymptomatic. He has expressed his regrets about what has happened, adding that any cabin or crew member who fails to deliver a negative report before boarding the flight will have to deal with severe repercussions.