Public fears over Covid-19 ostracizing airport workers

Public fears over Covid-19 ostracizing airport workers

Airport workers are complaining of being increasingly discriminated against for continuing to work at the Bengaluru International Airport Limited (BIAL), due to public fears over the coronavirus.

In a letter to The General Secretary of the Bangalore Apartments Federation, Hari Marar, the Managing Director and CEO of the BIAL, said that while the airport has been closed for passenger operations, it is nevertheless maintaining a certain amount of critical manpower to manage operations at the airport, owing to cargo flights which continue to arrive and depart the airport.

“Cargo operations continue to ensure that people across the country are able to receive their essential commodities like medicines, medical equipment and kits, household parcels...etc. Besides this, relief aircraft and evacuation flights are also operating from the airport on a need basis,” Marar said.

However, airport staff and ground crews detailed to ensure the continuation of such operations said that they are being ostracized in their neighborhoods because of their jobs.

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“The last few days have proven extremely difficult for some of the staff working in the airport ecosystem making their way to the airport. While on one hand, they have borne the brunt of villages and communities, on the other hand they are being ostracized at their homes. Landlords and communities have been asking them to leave their houses and apartments. Since their jobs are at the airport, they are seen as potential carriers of this virus,” Marar said.

BIAL has appealed to the Residents Welfare Associations (RWAs), asking them to refrain from evicting employees.