In the rescue operation, the AI left nothing to chance
NEW DELHI: Indian air The second evacuation flight flew in 323 Indians and seven Maldivian citizens from Wuhan, the epicenter of the epidemic, to Delhi on Sunday morning. The total number of people brought on the two flights is 654 to 647 Indians and seven foreigners. The jumbo aircraft used for this special operation, Ajanta and Agra, are now being sprayed and will be used for regular commercial flights after they are completely disinfected.
With these two planes with more than 25 years, AI took critical spare parts such as tires on flights from Delhi with engineers to minimize the possibility of landing there for technical reasons. Captain, the director (operations) of AI, was on the two consecutive flights to oversee the evacuation. He and another AI employee were the only two people on both flights. “Flying to Wuhan on the first flight was like witnessing an apocalypse. As soon as we left the international overflight routes in China to go to Wuhan, there was no other air traffic there at that time. Upon landing, we saw planes parked with their engines closed. It was creepy, ”Singh told TOI.
The airline’s control centre in Delhi was constantly tracking the flights. With limited staff at the airport and three levels of pre-boarding health checks for passengers, Indian air ’s first and second flights spent six and eight hours, respectively, on-ground at Wuhan airport before flying back to Delhi.
“There is a risk of infection involved in these flights. The same was communicated to the crew as their enlistment was requested voluntarily, but they did not hesitate for a moment, ”said Singh. The AI personnel who sprayed these planes received a full protective suit to do the job.