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First major airline to require COVID vaccine on international flights

Could Qantas be setting a new standard?

International travellers will need to be vaccinated against COVID-19 to fly with Australian airline Qantas, said the company. They are the first major airline to suggest that such rules may indeed become common place in the industry. Alan Joyce, Qantas CEO said that the Australian flag carrier would implement the measure once a COVID-19 vaccine was made available the general public.

“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 see that happens with COVID-19 in the market but certainly, for international visitors coming out (to Australia) and people leaving the country, we think it’s a necessity,” he said. 

Joyce went on to predict that it’s likely that the rule would become standard practice the world over, as governments and airlines are currently considering the introduction of electronic vaccination passports. 

Other regional airlines, on the other hand, said that it was too early to confirm or deny which travel requirements would be opted for once a vaccine becomes widely available.

Vaccination entry requirements are already widely used around the world, with many countries demanding travellers show they have been inoculated against yellow fever, for instance, if they’re coming from regions where the disease is endemic. 

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced yesterday, that they were in the final stages of developing a digital health pass. This can be used to record COVID-19 tests or vaccinations and will “support the safe reopening of borders”. 

“We’re bringing this to market in the coming months to also meet the needs of the various travel bubbles and public health corridors that are starting operation,” said IATA director general and CEO Alexandre de Juniac.

What do you think of this measure?