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Airlines move to turn ‘no jab, no fly’ into ‘no jab, no work’

January 25, 2021 Aviation, Headline News No Comments

United Airlines wants to make Covid-19 vaccination mandatory for its workforce of more than 60,000 employees; Singapore Airlines hopes to become the world’s first airline to get all of its crew vaccinated against the coronavirus, and other big airlines are pursuing the same goal.

On the passenger side, vaccination may become compulsory on international flights. Qantas has said its international passengers will need to be vaccinated. They will have to comply with other requirements too, such as wearing masks. When Qantas international flights resume, it’s reasonable to assume they will carry vaccinated passengers and crew.

IATA has launched a Travel Pass – a mobile app to help passengers “easily and securely manage their travel in line with government requirements for Covid-19 tests or vaccines”. The pass has already been adopted by two major long-haul carriers: Emirates and Etihad.

The IATA Travel Pass lets travellers create a “digital passport” to receive Covid test results and verify they are eligible to undertake their journey.

United Airlines’ chief executive Scott Kirby, who plans to make Covid-19 vaccines compulsory for employees, is encouraging other companies to do the same.

“The worst thing that I believe I will ever do in my career is the letters that I have written to the surviving family members of co-workers that we have lost to the coronavirus,” Kirby told a public meeting, reported by American television business news channel CNBC.

“And so, for me, because I have confidence in the safety of the vaccine – and I recognise it’s controversial – I think the right thing to do is for United Airlines, and for other companies, to require the vaccines and to make them mandatory.”

The United flight attendants’ union, the Association of Flight Attendants, is striving to ensure vaccine is available for cabin crew. Southwest Airlines says it has “strongly encouraged” staff to get vaccinated against Covid-19.

American Airlines is encouraging staff to get vaccinated, conceding that it might have to insist on crew vaccination if “vaccinations are ultimately mandated for entry to certain destinations”.

The Singaporean government has offered all Singapore Airlines crew members – including pilots, gate agents, flight attendants and anyone whose job requires contact with the public – free coronavirus vaccination.

“We are grateful to the Singapore government for making the aviation sector a priority in the country’s vaccination exercise,” SIA chief executive Goh Choon Phong said in a statement sent out to employees on 18 January.

 

 

Written by Peter Needham

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