02:56 GMT05 August 2020
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    New Delhi (Sputnik): Aviation sector has been projected as one of the worst-hit during the coronavirus pandemic, with predicted revenue loss around $3.3 billion. During the crisis, airlines in India were also under scanner for "hoarding" money of passengers who made advanced booking during the lockdown period.

    An AirAsia India pilot, who is also a prolific YouTuber, uploaded a video on Monday to explain that he was suspended after raising the issue of the "violation of passenger safety norms" and COVID-19 safety protocols by Air Asia India.

    ​Talking about various "safety blunders" such as an "unfavourable" sick leave policy, where he claimed he was asked to report to work despite being sick, the pilot, Gaurav Taneja accused the airline of violating the aviation regulator's COVID-19 safety guidelines in terms of "severe lack of management" and "its casual attitude" towards safety.

    “If you are feeling sick and still fly a plane, it can endanger the lives of passengers on board and it is as good as committing murder,” he argued.

    The Indian aviation watchdog Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) issued safety guidelines in March when cases started to become more numerous in the country. These included the thermal screening of passengers and the regular sanitation and fumigation of terminals, before the operations were temporarily halted on 25 March.

    The pilot said he was served a show-cause notice after he took up the issue with the airline authorities and was later suspended under the guise of “COVID-19 restructuring”. The airline -- a joint venture between AirAsia Berhad (49%) and Tata Sons (51%)-- has yet to react to the issue.

    After the YouTube Video surfaced, #BoycottAirAsia is trending on Monday on Twitter with over 22,000 tweets in support of the YouTuber-turned-pilot who has 2.8 million subscribers on YouTube. On Twitter he is known as flyingbeast320.

    ​Recently, a low-cost Indian carrier, GoAir, faced a backlash on Twitter after an employee allegedly made some charged statements. As #BoycottGoAir trended on the micro-blogging site, the airline swung into action and terminated the employee.


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    aviation, COVID-19, AirAsia, India
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