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Work is challenging but spirits are high, says Captain doing cargo duty amid COVID-19 crisis

A pilot’s job is always challenging, says Captain Abdul Muneer.

Published: 26th April 2020 06:45 AM  |   Last Updated: 26th April 2020 11:45 AM   |  A+A-

indiGo

For representational purposes (Photo | PTI)

Express News Service

KOCHI: A pilot’s job is always challenging, says Captain Abdul Muneer. The IndiGo pilot, who has been operating cargo flights from Kochi to Muscat during the lockdown period, is not one to be weighed down by the COVID-19 threat.

“These are testing times. The fear of the pandemic has spread worldwide. Airports and flights are considered especially risky, as many passengers have contracted the disease while flying. However, we are expected to be tough in the face of a challenge,” he says.

Recalling his experience transporting cargo while the outbreak is at its peak, Muneer says he was never terrified of the potential consequences. Reports from across the world are scary, but he wanted to grab destiny by the horns.

“When my fleet captain called me up and asked if I was willing to fly cargo to West Asia, I readily accepted the challenge. Our group of pilots has been working tirelessly since the announcement of lockdown, and I wanted to be part of the team. We are seasoned to deal with such challenges. The airlines too provides us all possible support,” he explains. He adds that if proper precautions are taken, the risk will be minimal.

Muneer had flown cargo from Kochi to Muscat on April 19.

“I drove from my house to the Cochin International Airport in my own car. The airport was pretty deserted. In fact, even the number of IndiGo staff there were limited. They gave me face masks and hand gloves before proceeding to the aircraft. We stayed only for one-and-a-half hours in Muscat. The entire operation was very smooth.

There was no air traffic as the passenger flights are currently grounded,” Muneer recounts. He points out that the government has set stringent norms for operating cargo flights.

“The Ministry of Aviation and External Affairs have issued guidelines for operating services. We are not supposed to step out of the aircraft after reaching the destination, and we should consume food only while inside the flight,” he says.

Muneer, who had operated flights to Singapore, Bangkok and West Asian countries in February while the COVID scare was spreading, remembers there was not much panic at the time.

“There was no rush at the airports and people were wearing masks. However, the situation was not as scary,” he says.

IndiGo has operated 70 cargo flights since the announcement of the lockdown. On April 18,  on a flight from Kochi to Abu Dhabi, the airlines had used the aircraft’s cabin space to load cargo for the first time ever.

70 flights operated since lockdown

IndiGo has operated 70 cargo flights since the announcement of the lockdown. On April 18,  on a flight from Kochi to Abu Dhabi, the airlines had used the aircraft’s cabin space to load cargo for the first time ever.

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