After mistakenly reading a pilot’s positive Covid-19 result as negative initially, an Air India flight from Delhi to Moscow had to be called back from Uzbekistan.
The flight was supposed to bring stranded Indians back from the Russian capital, but thankfully someone from the ground staff noticed the error and before the plane could reach destination.
A report from Times of India quoted a source as saying:
It was a genuine oversight due to the massive amount of test results that need to be gone through. Delhi base alone sees testing of 300 crew members daily due to which more labs had to be roped in. The volume of tests has meant results come in an excel sheet now. The person checking the test result status of crew who have tested negative and hence are available for rostering cleared an A320 crew for the Delhi-Moscow flight.
The mess-up happened earlier this morning but the mistake was pointed out within 2 hours, following which the plane was called back.
It is noteworthy that Air India pilots haven’t been paid since March and are participating in the Vande Bharat Mission as a national duty.
The work now is more than ever, a factor that contributed to the pilot’s result being misread. As the source told Times of India:
We are working under tremendous work pressure and unprecedented uncertainty. The fact that we are doing so with pay due for three months now only adds to the pressure. This is our condition. But we are not justifying what happened with the Delhi-Moscow flight. We are humans and had a genuine oversight, a mistake. We did not even think of covering it up and called the flight back to Delhi as soon as we realised the same.