By Ashoke Raj
New Delhi [India], May 30 (ANI): A Moscow-bound special Air India aircraft had to be called back to Delhi mid-way on Saturday after one of the pilots onboard tested positive for the coronavirus infection.
The aircraft is currently undergoing the disinfection process at Delhi airport.
"The flight was called back to origin airport Delhi after the pilot tested Covid-19 positive. Currently, the aircraft is under the process of fumigation and disinfectant." an AI official told ANI.
"Dear Indian Nationals, @airindiain flight from Moscow (DME) for Delhi- Jaipur today at 11:50 hrs has been delayed due to technical reasons. The embassy will inform you about the revised time of departure. Please see our social media handles for the latest updates," the Indian Embassy in Russia said on Twitter.
The flight AI-1945 returned to Delhi at about 12.30 pm and now the crew will be quarantined as per norms.
It departed from Delhi as a ferry flight (no passenger) to bring back stranded Indians from Moscow.
The Air India flight was called back to Delhi when it was about to cross Uzbekistan airspace.
The AI official also said, "We have hired a third party agency for COVID test for our crew before any kind of International flights. We are investigating the entire case." AI official said.
The entire crew has been de-rostered and asked to undergo health check-ups as per the airline set protocol.
India has launched the largest evacuation exercise to repatriate Indians stranded abroad due to coronavirus-induced lockdown. The exercise began on May 7 and its second phase started on May 16.
The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) earlier announced that the second phase of the mission has been extended to June 13. (ANI)