Six Aeroflot pilots refuse COVID-19 jabs, suspended without pay

  • Aeroflot suspends pilots for refusing COVID-19 jabs.
  • Suspended pilots refused to sign up for vaccine against coronavirus.
  • Pilots’ union complained to Aeroflot CEO, calling suspension a discrimination.

Russia’s flagship airline Aeroflot, which is majority-owned by the Russian state, sent least six unvaccinated pilots on unpaid leave or vacation without pay, the carrier’s spokesman said.

Six pilots working for Russia’s main international airline have been grounded and suspended from duty under rules allowing companies to effectively dismiss staff who refuse to sign up for a vaccine against COVID-19 virus.

A spokesman for Aeroflot said that six pilots had been put on sick leave, without pay, because they had chosen not to receive a jab. However, the number of suspended pilots was miniscule compared to the overall size of Aeroflot’s workforce, with 2,300 pilots in the company’s cockpits.

The pilots’ labor union complained to Aeroflot CEO Mikhail Poluboyarinov of discrimination, arguing that unvaccinated flight attendants and technical support staff do not face similar dismissals.

Igor Delduzhov, the President of the Sheremetyevo Trade Union of Flight Personnel, based at Aeroflot’s Moscow hub airport, has hit out at the decision to remove the flight staff. According to him, the harsh response to those choosing not to get vaccinated is unwarranted, given around 84% of staff have reportedly already been immunized.

“No other Russian airline has similar suspensions,” Deldyuzhov said in a letter on the union’s website.

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