Air Asia’s Tony Fernandes expects countries in Asia to demand Covid-19 vaccinations as a requirement for inbound travel. Speaking at a CAPA – Centre for Aviation event, the budget carrier’s chief said these conditions are expected to become a trend across the region, according to Reuters.

“I foresee in Asia anyway, I think they won’t let anyone in without a vaccination,” said Fernandes. 

Fernandes’ comments contrast with earlier remarks by Qantas CEO Alan Joyce, who said Covid-19 vaccinations will be a requirement to board the Australian carrier’s international flights.

The Air Asia CEO argues the onus should instead lie with countries.

“It’s not up to the airlines to decide. It’s for governments to decide. It’ll be the country that’ll decide if they will allow people to come in if they are not vaccinated,” said Fernandes.

While vaccines are pending a wider rollout, airlines have been advocating for pre-flight testing and travel bubbles as an alternative to demand-sapping quarantines. 

Additionally, carriers including Air Asia have unveiled digital passes to streamline health document checks and determine eligibility to travel into a foreign country.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) is also in the final stages of developing an industry-standard health pass to support the safe reopening of borders.