Etihad Airways has become the first airline in the world to only operate flights with pilots and cabin crew who have been vaccinated against Covid-19.

The airline began to take steps to support employees to receive the vaccine last year, and collaborated with health authorities to secure places for its frontline staff in Abu Dhabi’s vaccination programme.

The airline also launched its ‘Protected Together’ employee vaccination initiative last month to help staff “take proactive, personal steps towards protecting themselves against Covid-19”. The initiative provides staff with access to virtual talks by leading medical professionals, and mobile clinics so that employees can receive the vaccine at work.

Etihad states that over 75 per cent of its workforce have already received at least one dose of the vaccine. According to the airline, “this figure will continue to grow as more employees step forward and choose to vaccinate”.

Tony Douglas, Group CEO of Etihad Aviation Group, said:

“We proactively made the vaccine available to all our employees to not only help combat the effects of Covid-19 but to make travellers feel confident and reassured the next time they fly with us. We are the only airline in the world to make Covid-19 testing mandatory for every passenger and crew member before every flight and now, we’re the first airline in the world with 100 per cent vaccinated crew on board.

“I chose very early on to be vaccinated to demonstrate my own support of the national vaccination programme and to encourage everyone at Etihad who was eligible for the vaccine, to receive it as soon as possible. I would like to thank the entire Etihad family for everything they have done to help us reach this milestone – I am truly humbled.”

Dr Nadia Bastaki, Vice President Medical Services and CSR at Etihad Aviation Group, added:

“Following the national vaccination programme, we worked tirelessly to become an approved Covid-19 vaccination clinic to support our staff, and their dependants, be able to easily access the vaccine. Since December 2020, we have been offering in-house vaccination appointments to our employees and their loved ones to ensure we are focused on our employee’s wellbeing.”

Meanwhile, Etihad is planning to restart safe travel through the launch of the IATA Travel Pass on selected flights from Abu Dhabi in the first quarter of 2021, with plans to extend the initiative to other destinations on its network if it proves successful.