An Air India flight crew was left pleasantly surprised after an Air Traffic Controller (ATC) from Pakistan praised them for operating relief flights amid the coronavirus crisis.
Air India was operating special flights from India to Frankfurt with relief materials and evacuated European and Canadian nationals, who were stranded in India amid the coronavirus crisis.
According to a report by Asian News International (ANI), one of the captains operating the special flights said: “It was a very proud moment for me as well as the entire Air India crew when we heard Pakistan ATC praising our special flight operations to Europe."
"As we entered in Pakistan's Flight Information Region (FIR), the Pakistan Air Traffic Controller (ATC) greeted us 'Assalaam Alaikum! This is Karachi's control welcoming Air India for relief flights to Frankfurt’," the senior captain quoted the Pakistan ATC as saying.
After the necessary exchange of information between the captain and ATC, the operator from Pakistan praised Air India for their efforts.
"We are proud of you that in a pandemic situation you are operating flights, good luck,” the ATC reportedly said.
"Thank you so much," responded the captain, according to a report by news magazine India Today.
Furthermore, when the captain, who commanded the special flights, told the Pakistan ATC about not getting the next radar for the Iran airspace, Pakistan conveyed the flight’s position to the Tehran airspace and provided details of the two Air India special flights.
After Pakistan's airspace, the special flight entered Iran.
The captain reportedly told ANI, it had never happened before in his entire pilot career Iran had given a direct route of over 1000 miles.
"First time in my entire career as a pilot, Iran gave a direct routing for about 1000 miles a privilege guess enjoyed as special flights, in all especially in the recent tense situation in the Iranian airspace," he was quoted as saying.
"Before leaving Iran airspace, the Iran ATC also wished us 'all the best'," the captain told to ANI.
As a COVID-19 precaution, India has announced a 21-days lockdown with no passenger air and rail traffic, leaving many foreigners stranded in several parts of the country.
Social media users appreciate
Twitter user @ananthkrishnan thought appreciated the exchange: “A story we can all use in these depressing times…”
Similarly, user @bkum2000 tweeted: “Positive messages during tough #coronaVirus from an otherwise estranged neighbour.”
Twitter user @zafarsareshwala wrote: “Such gestures of positivity and goodwill between the two neighbours now need to be spread across the spectrum! Let’s bygone be bygone and move towards hand of lasting friendship.”
Tweep @Ruchi_Indi thought that it is the time for nations to stand together: “A nice little story amongst all the negativity - of different nations and nationalities coming together to fight a common enemy and of heart-warming praises #StandTogether #pandemic #covid19stories.”