The CEO of Qantas has stated that international air travellers will have to be vaccinated against Covid-19 in order to board flights with the airline.
In an interview with Australia’s Channel 9 network on Monday evening, Alan Joyce said that once vaccines become readily available, proof of a jab would be “a necessity” for passengers wishing to travel abroad, adding that the requirement will be a “common thing” in the aviation industry.
This comes after Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison outlined that the vaccination will be “as mandatory as you can possibly make it” for Australians.
Joyce told the broadcaster:
“We are looking at changing our terms and conditions to say for international travellers, that we will ask people to have a vaccination before they can get on the aircraft.
“Whether you need that domestically, we will have to see what happens with Covid-19 and the market, but certainly for international passengers coming in and leaving the country, we think that’s a necessity.”
The move comes after the promising news this week of a vaccine by University of Oxford and AstraZeneca, following the successful trials by Pfizer and Moderna earlier this month.
Commenting on how proof of vaccination would be provided, Joyce stated that the airline was looking into “an electronic version of a passport that certifies what the vaccine is [and] if it’s acceptable the country you’re travelling to”, noting that “there’s a lot of logistics, a lot of technology that needs to be put in place to make this happen.”
Global airline trade body IATA announced yesterday (November 23) that it is working with International Airlines Group (IAG) in the final development phase of the IATA Travel Pass, a digital health pass that will support the safe reopening of borders and boost international travel.
Australia closed its borders to non-residents early on in the pandemic and put in place a quarantine for those returning to the country. Since then, the country has succeeded in reducing daily infections to almost zero through lockdowns and widespread testing – the country has recorded approximately 900 coronavirus-related deaths and 28,000 infections in total.
The state of New South Wales reopened its border with Victoria on Monday for the first time in four months, with Qantas scheduling over 20 flights between the two states as a result – the airline had formerly suspended flights between Sydney and Melbourne due to the pandemic.
Commenting on the devastating impact of the pandemic on Qantas, and the entire aviation industry, Joyce stated that trading conditions were the worst in the airline’s 100-year history. Qantas reported an annual loss of A$2bn in August due to the impact of Covid-19.
While the airline has cancelled most of its international flights, Joyce announced that the airline plans to get a “significant amount of the international operation up and running in the next financial year”.
He told the broadcaster, however, that the airline is unlikely to resume services to high-risk countries, such as the United States and areas of Europe, until a vaccine is rolled out.
The Australian flag carrier celebrated its 100th anniversary earlier this month, with “significantly scaled back” celebrations due to the pandemic.