Evacuation: Pilots, crew undergo training in donning PPEs, COVID-19 control practices

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Ahead of commencing their operations to airlift stranded Indians in foreign countries, the pilots and cabin crew of the first batch of Air India Express evacuation flight on Wednesday got to know how to handle in-flight operations at the time of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Doctors and nurses of a government medical college (GMC) hospital here, experts in handling COVID-19 patients, imparted training to 12 airline staff including four pilots, ahead of their departure from Kochi to participate in the biggest evacuation operation of Indian history.

The pilots and cabin crew were provided training in all the steps on donning and doffing of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) suits, infection control practices to be followed inflight and also the management of anticipated health emergencies during the flight, the medical college authorities said here.

A practical demonstration of both donning and doffing of PPE suites according to the protocol was also given to the crew.

They were also provided with practice kits.

“The training given by GMC Ernakulam has helped to build up the confidence level of the entire crew considerably and we are now fully confident to undertake the rescue mission,” said Captain Paartha Sarkar.

The expert panel was headed by medical college RMO Dr Ganesh Mohan, doctors Manoj Antony, Gokul Sanjeevan and infection control staff nurse Vidhya.

Medical superintendent Dr Peter Vazhayil has offered further training sessions for air personnel, if requested by the Airline companies.

A Cochin International Airport spokesman said there will be only one Air India Express flight operating on May 7 to airlift passengers stranded Keralites.

The flight carrying evacuated citizens from Abu Dhabi will land at the Cochin International Airport Limited at 9.40 pm on Thursday, he said.

The other (Doha-Kochi) flight, scheduled for Thursday’s operation, has been rescheduled to Saturday, he added.

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