COVID-19 | Delhi-Moscow AI flight under Vande Bharat Mission returns mid-way as pilot tests positive

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An Air India flight (AI-1945) going to Moscow from Delhi under Vande Bharat Mission had to return mid-way on Saturday, after one of its pilots tested positive for the coronavirus infection.

The aircraft is currently undergoing the disinfection process at Delhi airport.

“On return, immediately after landing all cockpit and cabin crew have been tested and all laid down medical precautions are being taken to ensure their health and safety. Another aircraft has taken off today to operate the Vande Bharat Mission flight Moscow to Delhi”, a statement from Air India read.

“Dear Indian Nationals, @airindiain flight from Moscow (DME) for Delhi- Jaipur today at 11:50 hrs has been delayed due to technical reasons. The embassy will inform you about the revised time of departure. Please see our social media handles for the latest updates,” the Indian Embassy in Russia said on Twitter.

The flight AI-1945 returned to Delhi at about 12.30 pm and the crew quarantined as per norms.

It departed from Delhi as a ferry flight (no passenger) to bring back stranded Indians from Moscow.

The Air India flight was called back to Delhi when it was about to cross Uzbekistan airspace.

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The AI official also said, “We have hired a third party agency for COVID test for our crew before any kind of International flights. We are investigating the entire case.”

The entire crew has been de-rostered and asked to undergo health check-ups as per the airline set protocol.

India has launched the largest evacuation exercise to repatriate Indians stranded abroad due to coronavirus-induced lockdown. The exercise began on May 7 and its second phase started on May 16.

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) earlier announced that the second phase of the mission has been extended to June 13.

(With ANI inputs)

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