Workers in the aviation sector should be considered for Covid-19 vaccination on a priority basis after health workers have been given the jabs, the civil aviation ministry has told the Union health ministry.
During the first phase of vaccination, the list of frontline workers included personnel from the armed forces, prison 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 to be considered on priority during the next phase of vaccination, which starts on 1 May.
DIPAM Secretary Pandey currently has the additional charge of civil aviation until May 13, as the ministry’s secretary Pradeep Singh Kharola is on leave.
Nearly 8 million people on Wednesday applied for vaccination in three hours on the first day as the government’s dedicated website, CoWIN, opened for registrations for those between 18 and 44 years old.
“The aviation sector has been at the forefront of extending services to the movement of medical cargo like vaccines, medicines, medical equipment during the pandemic. It is understandable that crew, engineers, air traffic controllers, technicians, ground staff face significant risk. I would request you to consider the personnel involved in aviation services as a priority group, ” Pandey wrote.
International airline lobby group International Air Transport Association (IATA) renewed its call on governments to ensure that employees in the aviation sector were considered essential workers during the impending Covid-19 vaccine campaign once health care workers and vulnerable groups had been protected.
IATA said that this would also help revive the sector, which has been hit heavily by the virus.
The second wave of the pandemic has significantly delayed any revival in travel, including in the domestic sector, which had just seen some uptick in January and February.
Rating agency Icra expects domestic air traffic to reach pre-covid levels by 2022-23, while international air traffic is expected to hit pre-Covid normalcy only by FY24 because of a sluggish demand from leisure and business travellers and a surge in new variants of the coronavirus.
Disclaimer: This post has been auto-published from an agency/news feed without any modifications to the text and has not been reviewed by an editor.