Five pilots of Air India and two employees of the national carrier's engineering services subsidiary AIESL have tested positive for coronavirus, airline sources said on Sunday.
Air India, which is operating flights to evacuate Indians stranded in foreign countries, have asked its pilots to undertake coronavirus test before they operate such flights, the sources said.
"Five Air India pilots have tested positive for coronavirus. These pilots were tested one after one. We suspect it could be a case of faulty testing kit as well," one of the sources said.
The five pilots fly Boeing 787 planes, the second source said.
A senior airline official said the five pilots had not operated any flight in the last three weeks. "These pilots had operated cargo flights to China prior to April 20," the official said.
Air India spokesperson did not offer any comment.
A technician and a tow-tug operator/driver working with the Air India Engineering Services Ltd have also tested positive for coronavirus, the sources said.
These employees were working at the aircraft hangar of a non-schedule operator at the Mumbai airport. They were found to be infected during tests done on May 7, they added.
Regarding two staff of AIESL testing positive for coronavirus, the non-scheduled operator had informed the company in a recent e-mail.
As per the e-mail, the operator said that outsourced Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul personnel attending its aircraft are also tested for coronavirus infection.
"AIESL personnel are also being tested in a phased manner. The results of tests conducted on May 7 have been received and two AIESL personnel have tested COVID-19 positive," the engineering head of the operator said in the e-mail to AIESL CEO.
"We request you to kindly take action as per your company policy. You are requested to note that these personnel shall not be allocated to our aircraft till they are cured and not without our concurrence," the e-mail said.
AIESL CEO H R Jagannath was not immediately available for comments.