KLM Cuts Crew Layover Time in India in Half
During layovers, KLM is reducing the amount of time its crew spends in India. Rather than spending 48 hours on the field, teams would return in 24 hours. The decision to cut the layover period in half comes as international airlines stop leaving crews in India due to a shortage of healthcare facilities.
KLM has cut the amount of time its crews spend in India on layovers in half, according to the Times of India. The airline currently has seven weekly passenger flights, four from New Delhi and three from Mumbai, as well as one weekly cargo-only flight from New Delhi to Mumbai. Crews on both of these routes will spend no more than 24 hours on the ground starting May 5th.
KLM has also relocated all layovers from the worst-affected capital of Delhi to Mumbai, allowing crews to remain onboard for the connecting flight between the two cities. Crews are immediately escorted to a nearby hotel upon arrival in Mumbai and are not allowed to leave until the next flight. This saves crews the trouble of having to endure an RT-PCR examination in India.
If KLM crews stay in their hotels in India, they will not be subjected to an examination. Photo: Getty Images
India is reportedly the world’s COVID-19 hotspot, posing a significant danger to anyone travelling there at this time. Some reports say that crews are requesting an exemption from the RT-PCR specifications because they do not want to test positive in India and face a 14-day quarantine. Furthermore, the scarcity of medical facilities has increased the likelihood of any crews being quarantined in India.
Not the only one
KLM is far from the only airline looking to cut down on the amount of time its employees spend in the region. Lufthansa has decided to forego crew layovers in India in favour of establishing a temporary crew base in Dubai. This means that all crew changes on inbound and outbound India flights take place in Dubai, and no crew member is required to leave the plane during turnarounds. Both routes, however, will include a stopover in the Middle East centre.
On India-bound routes, Lufthansa is stopping in Dubai to change crews and avoid layovers in the region. Photo: Oliver Rösler via Lufthansa
Similarly, United Airlines no longer has crew layovers in India. Instead, on the outbound trip, the airline sends in a replacement team, who will take over on the return leg. This came after Indian authorities demanded that a United crew take an RT-PCR test upon arrival, forcing them to fly out without any passengers instead.
Although a number of airlines continue to fly to India, the number of passengers who can travel has been severely limited. Only Dutch nationals and a few others are allowed to fly on KLM flights, which were recently barred as well. Similarly, travel bans from the United States, Germany, and other countries mean that these flights have few passengers.
Instead, several roads are still running because of the vital cargo they are transporting to India. This includes life-saving medical equipment such as oxygen concentrators, ventilators, and masks, among others.
Cover Photo Credit: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying