Vistara has become India’s first airline to operate a flight with all pilots and cabin crew fully vaccinated. Flight UK963 flew from Delhi to Mumbai this morning and marked an important milestone for the carrier. Vistara has partially vaccinated nearly its entire workforce and plans to fly more fully vaccinated crew flights soon.
Vistara announced today that it has completed its first fully vaccinated crew flight today. The pilots and cabin crew operated flight UK963 from Delhi to Mumbai, which departed at 08:45 AM and arrived at 11:00 AM local time, according to RadarBox.com. Both pilots and all cabin crew had received both doses of their COVID-19 vaccine, thereby being classified as fully vaccinated.
The same crew will return to Delhi on UK960 later today, completing two fully vaccinated crew flights for the airline. The return leg departed Mumbai at 12:05 PM and is expected to land in Delhi at 13:40 local time.
In a statement, Vistara Chief Commercial Officer Vinod Kannan said,
“Vaccination is the best known defence against the pandemic that is helping the world get back to normalcy, subsequently aiding the recovery of the aviation industry. We have been consistently getting our staff vaccinated in our endeavour to ensure safety for them, their families and our customers whom they serve. This special flight operated by our fully vaccinated cabin crew and pilots is a sign of our continued commitment towards making ‘flying feel safe again’.”
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More to come
In early June, Vistara confirmed that it had given one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine to nearly its entire workforce. With almost 100% of the crew partially immunized, Vistara plans to operate more fully vaccinated flights in the coming weeks and months as more crew get their second doses.
However, India has set the interval for two vaccine doses at 12-16 weeks for the Oxford-AstraZenca vaccine and four to six weeks for COVAXIN. Considering the rollout for those under 45 only began in May and airline crew were not given any priority before that, it will be at least September before Vistara will have its entire workforce fully vaccinated.
As the vaccine rollout continues to pick up steam, we can expect more such fully vaccinated crew flights from airlines. This isn’t a new phenomenon, with airlines around the world flying special flights to mark vaccinations.
In February, Etihad became the first airline globally to fully vaccinated its entire crew. This rapid vaccine rollout opened the door for Emirates to operate the worst vaccinated passenger flight, with 70 onboard. Airlines like El Al and Qatar Airways have also vaccinated almost their entire staff, increasing confidence.
However, vaccine distribution remains uneven globally, which means it could be months before more airlines catch on to this trend. For now, passengers will fly safer knowing their crews have full protection.
What do you think about Vistara’s fully vaccinated flight? Let us know in the comments!