No vaccine, no seat: this airline is making COVID-19 jabs mandatory | Condé Nast Traveller India


Qantas will insist that every single person on board its international flights has taken a COVID-19 vaccine, the airline CEO has declared. “We are looking at changing our terms and conditions, to say for international, that we will ask people to have a vaccination before getting on the aircraft,” Alan Joyce said on Channel Nine’s news show A Current Affair.

“We think for international visitors coming out, and people leaving the country, we think that’s a necessity.”

COVID vaccine as a passport

It’s an idea that is a work-in-progress, Joyce has suggested. But there are many questions to be answered: at what point can one say that the vaccine is commonly available? Will the rule apply to passengers from countries where the vaccine is not mandatory or not commonly available? Will all vaccines be treated the same—or will some be more equal than others? Will there be exemptions, say on medical grounds?

Joyce and team are aware of the complexity of the problem. “I think that’s going to be a common thing, talking to my colleagues in other airlines around the globe … What we’re looking at is how you can have the [proof of] vaccination in an electronic version of a passport that certifies what the vaccine is, if it’s acceptable the country you’re travelling to.”

So when does this happen, realistically? Likely not till mid-next year—Qantas has shelved international flights till March 2021. To the US, dubbed as a hotspot country, the airline won’t fly until December next year. “…With the levels of the virus in the United States and in Europe, we’re not going to see operations to those destinations in any real strength until we see a vaccine being rolled out, which is likely towards the end of 2021,” Joyce has said. 

But as an idea, the vaccination passport is catching on. The IATA (International Air Transport Association) is working on a COVID passport—an electronic travel pass that will help travellers flash their COVID-free status to get entry into a country. The tech is being developed and is expected to roll out in the first quarter of 2021.



Updated: November 24, 2020 — 6:26 am

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *