The largest Russian airline Aeroflot has suspended six pilots from work due to their refusal to get a vaccine. They were all sent on unpaid vacation, the RBC news agency reports, citing the airline representative Mikhail Demin.
Aeroflot employs 2,300 pilots in total.
The suspension was announced on Monday by the Sheremetyevo trade union of flight personnel. After persistent negotiation with the personnel, the company was able to convince 84% of them to get vaccinated.
At the same time, those employees who rejected to do so were suspended from flying and were sent on unpaid vacation even though the Russian government didn’t require the company to do so. Moreover, in other departments of Aeroflot, unvaccinated employees can work with no limitations.
About ten pilots including aircraft commanders and second pilots have submitted a complaint to the union. The company started to restrict them from flights on August 16 while the actual order on suspension from flying was issued on August 30. In addition, there are still no official requirements to get vaccinated for flight attendants and technical support team members.
Russia has been implementing the vaccination campaign since January 18. So far, about 44.4 million people were vaccinated with one shot of a vaccine, and 38.3 million were vaccinated with two doses.
In February 2021, Aeroflot resumed regular flights from Moscow to Almaty, Baku, Yerevan and Delhi, all of which had been suspended earlier due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Moreover, since February 10, the frequency of flights from Moscow to Nur-Sultan has increased to twice a week.