The human face of Air India came to the fore yet again, as the national carrier spread out its wings to fly three young Bangladesh citizens, suffering from a serious condition of muscular dystrophy, for treatment at a Mumbai hospital along with three of their relatives. The three patients and three persons accompanying them took this evening’s Air India flight from Kolkata to Mumbai and will also return by an Air India flight after treatment- entirely free of any charges. This reiterates Air India’s commitment to serve humanity going beyond geo-political limits and rising above commercial interest.
AI773 took off from Kolkata’s Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport with the six Bangladesh nationals amongst other passengers – bringing a ray of hope to the patients suffering from a rare medical condition called Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. The patients were extended full support by way of wheelchairs and individual attendants. They along with their relatives were handed over the boarding cards by senior Air India officials. Refreshments were served and rosebuds were given to all the six passengers with a word of encouragement.
The saga of Abdus, Rahinul and Shorab aged 24, 14 and 8 respectively, goes back to their birth when they were diagnosed with this crippling disease. It grabbed attention when their family pleaded with the Bangladesh Government for mercy killing of the three for failing to continue with their treatment due to financial reasons. Destiny, however, had another script for them as Meditourz – a Mumbai-based organization specializing in such diseases in collaboration with NeuroGen- a Brain & Spine Institute based at Navi Mumbai flashed a beacon of hope for the patients. Dr Alok Sharma, a renowned neurosurgeon who specializes in treatment for neurological disorders, offered free treatment to these patients at his hospital and research centre NeoroGen. A request was made to Air India and CMD Mr Ashwani Lohani immediately offered support to fly the patients with their companions free of charge to Mumbai and back, and in no time the national carrier swung into action mobilizing all resources for their flight to Mumbai and back. They preferred to come by road to Kolkata to take the flight.
“We wish to think Air India for its kind gesture of arranging the air travel for three patients from Bangladesh and their family to come to NeuroGen Institute for treatment and for their return after initial treatment,” said Dr Alok Sharma. Earlier, the Bangladesh Government and the Bangladesh Human Rights Group had pitched in to ensure that they got Visas and documents to travel to India for the treatment.
Air India has always risen to the occasion and extended exemplary humanitarian service with its care and concern for passenger wellbeing. There have been innumerable occasions when flights are diverted and medical emergency landings made top save a passenger’s life. Besides, on many occasions to save the life of passengers getting ill onboard, Air India made a dramatic operation carrying a “live heart” on several occasions from Bangalore to Chennai, Madurai to Chennai and Trichy to Chennai in the recent past. Air India has proved time and again that selfless service comes before immediate commercial considerations led by a firm belief of the CMD Air India and his Team that “If we don’t, then who will?”