Aeroflot suspends pilots who refused Covid-19 vaccine

Aeroflot has proceeded in recent weeks to the dismissal of several of its pilots who had refused to be vaccinated against Covid-19. A spokesperson for the Russian airline mentioned at least six flight captains affected by the measure, reports local media RBC, relayed by BFM TV.

Some were suspended while others were given time off. In all cases, they were deprived of their salary.

The only captains concerned

Vaccination is not compulsory for Russian aircrew. Aeroflot is also the only carrier in the country to have applied such sanctions, have denounced pilots’ unions. The latter were also surprised that the captains were the only ones affected by layoffs while the members of the cabin crew have so far been spared.

In total, 84% of the 2,300 pilots employed by Aeroflot were vaccinated on a voluntary basis, said Sheremetyevo Cockpit Personnel Association president Igor Deldyuzhov. “These suspensions cause excessive tension and push employees to resign,” he also lamented.

A compulsory vaccination rate of 60%

Because no Russian employee can be dismissed for lack of vaccination against the coronavirus, stipulates the country’s Labor Code. Service companies, which include airlines, however, are required to have an employee vaccination rate of 60% or more. Violators are subject to fines.

The Russian Minister of Labor also announced during the summer that unvaccinated employees were likely to be automatically placed on unpaid leave.

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