Qantas: COVID-19 vaccinations will be “a must” before travel, other airlines to follow suit

Alan Joyce, CEO of Australia’s Qantas said it would be a “necessity” for future international travellers to prove they have been vaccinated against COVID-19 before flying. This comes after the recent success of several potential COVID-19 vaccines—including Pfizer’s vaccine which will be delivered to Malaysia in the first quarter of next year.

“Whether you need (the vaccine) domestically, we will have to see what happens with COVID-19 in the market. But certainly, for international visitors coming out and people leaving the country, we think that’s a necessity,” said Joyce.

Qantas is the first airline to indicate that COVID-19 vaccinations would be a must before travel. However, it is likely that other airlines would follow suit, as Joyce also mentions that the rule “would be a common theme”.

A spokesperson for AirAsia said that once a vaccine is available the airline “will review the requirement for guests to be vaccinated against COVID-19 for international travel”. According to Air New Zealand, they said “it’s up to governments to determine when and how it is safe to reopen borders and we continue to work closely with authorities on this”.

However, CEO of the International Air Transport Association (IATA)—Alexandre de Juniac—said that the policy is a “bit premature“. He also said that the “emergency now is to implement the testing process”.

Qantas reported a loss of 2.7 billion Australian dollars (RM8.1 billion) for the financial year that ended in June—a 91% drop in profit from the prior year. In September, the airline offered “flights to nowhere“—which were sold out in ten minutes. According to Joyce, it was “the fastest selling flight in Qantas history”.

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Dzamira Dzafri