Air India has announced that it will vaccinate all of its employees by the end of May after pilots threatened a strike if special camps were not organised to vaccinate all staff.
In an official statement released late Tuesday night, Air India said that discussions were already underway for the vaccination of all employees, including crews.
"Air India could not complete the vaccination as the government guidelines did not allow vaccination of persons below 45 years of age. Since from 1 May all persons above 18 years of age can be vaccinated, a schedule for vaccination is now being drawn up and it is expected to commence as early as next week and all employees will be vaccinated by the end of this month", the airline said, adding that in the last few days it has lost several valuable employees due to coronavirus.
"In order to support families of deceased employees, we had announced a compensation of INR 1 million ($13,545) for permanent employees in July 2020 and the scheme continues".
On Tuesday morning, Air India's Pilot Union supported by the Indian Commercial Pilots Association (ICPA) threatened in a letter to stop working if the airline's management did not set up vaccination camps across India for employees immediately.
The union alleged that many crew members had tested positive for COVID-19 and were struggling to get medical aid, including oxygen cylinders.
In recent months, crew members of several airlines, including Air India, have tested positive for COVID-19 after being exposed to the virus on duty.
The pilots stated that they were on standby when the Indian government announced the "Vande Bharat Mission", an initiative to bring Indians stranded abroad home at the very beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, but their health needs should be taken into account as well.
Over the past month, India has witnessed a massive surge in coronavirus cases, with the country's tally crossing the 20 million mark earlier this week.