Imagine aviation workers as precedence for vaccination: Aviation secretary

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Workers in the aviation sector will have to be regarded as for Covid-19 vaccination on a precedence basis after health workers have been provided the jabs, the civil aviation ministry has told the Union health ministry.


All the way through the first phase of vaccination, the list of frontline workers included personnel from the armed forces, jail staff, municipal workers, among others, but not aviation-sector employees.


Tuhin Kanta Pandey, secretary in the civil aviation ministry, in a letter to chief secretaries of states, has asked for workers involved in aviation services and products to be regarded as on precedence all the way through the next phase of vaccination, which starts on 1 May.


DIPAM Secretary Pandey currently has the extra charge of civil aviation until May 13, as the ministry’s secretary Pradeep Singh Kharola is on leave.


Almost 8 million people on Wednesday applied for vaccination in three hours on the first day as the government’s committed website, CoWIN, opened for registrations for those between 18 and 44 years old.


“The aviation sector has been at the vanguard of extending services and products to the movement of medical cargo like vaccines, medicines, medical equipment all the way through the pandemic. It is comprehensible that crew, engineers, air traffic controllers, technicians, ground staff face remarkable risk. I would request you to imagine the personnel involved in aviation services and products as a precedence group, ” Pandey wrote.


International airline foyer group International Air Transport Organization (IATA) renewed its call on governments to make sure that employees in the aviation sector were regarded as fundamental workers all the way through the impending Covid-19 vaccine crusade once health care workers and vulnerable groups had been safe.


IATA said that this would also help revive the sector, which has been hit heavily by the virus.


The second one wave of the pandemic has significantly delayed any revival in go back and forth, including in the domestic sector, which had just seen some uptick in January and February.


Rating agency Icra expects domestic air traffic to achieve pre-covid levels by 2022-23, while international air traffic is expected to hit pre-Covid normalcy only by FY24 on account of a sluggish demand from leisure and trade travellers and a surge in new variants of the coronavirus.

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