Air New Zealand has confirmed that customers travelling on its international flights will be required to be fully vaccinated from early next year.
The flag carrier said that the ‘no jab, no fly’ policy will come into effect for customers travelling anywhere on the carrier’s international network from February 1, 2022.
The requirement will apply to all passengers aged 18 or over arriving or departing New Zealand on one of the airline’s aircraft, unless they can “present proof that vaccination was not a viable option for them for medical reasons”.
Air New Zealand will use the IATA Travel Pass to check customers’ health information against flight details, to ensure they meet entry requirements for both the destination and the airline.
In August the New Zealand government set out its plans “to reconnect New Zealanders to the world”, using the second half of 2021 “to vaccinate as many New Zealanders as possible and safely conduct a self-isolation trial for vaccinated New Zealanders in order to prepare for a phased resumption of quarantine-free travel”.
“We’re getting ready to reconnect with the world and letting customers know what they need to do to be ready to take off when we can,” said Air New Zealand’s CEO Greg Foran.
“Being vaccinated against Covid-19 is the new reality of international travel – many of the destinations Kiwis want to visit are already closed to unvaccinated visitors. The quicker we get vaccinated, the sooner we can fly Kiwis to places like New York, Vancouver and Narita.
“We’ve been hearing from both customers and employees that this measure is important to them. It came through loud and clear in our recent consultation process with employees and we want to do everything we can to protect them.
“Mandating vaccination on our international flights will give both customers and employees the peace of mind that everyone onboard meets the same health requirements as they do.
“It’s not just customers who will be required to be vaccinated – it’s everyone on board an Air New Zealand aircraft travelling internationally, adding to the health and safety measures we already have in place. Another tool in our toolbox.
“As with anything, there will be some that disagree. However, we know this is the right thing to do to protect our people, our customers and the wider New Zealand community.
“We’ll spend the next few months making sure we get this right, ensuring it works as smoothly as possible for our customers. This also gives anyone wanting to travel from next year plenty of time to get their vaccination.
“To take some of the friction out of the travel experience and to help our customers know exactly what they need to travel before even getting to the airport, we’re continuing to work on rolling out the International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) Travel Pass app.”
Qantas’ CEO Alan Joyce has previously stated that proof of Covid-19 vaccination would be “a necessity” for passengers wishing to travel abroad.