Alan Joyce, the CEO of Australia’s buggiest airline Qantas recently made a rather shocking statement.
“For international travelers that we will ask people to have a vaccination before they get on the aircraft.”, said Joyce in an interview for the Australian TV media 9now on November 23.
It seems that Qantas will require vaccination for all international travel.
According to Joyce, Qantas wants to incorporate the vaccination travel requirement into their policy. Thus, the rule becomes unavoidable. If you do not vaccinate you won’t travel with Qantas.
“Whether you need that domestically, we’ll 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,” Joyce explained for 9now network.
In an interview for the Financial Times, IATA medical advisor David Powell reinforced Joyce statement by saying that “Being able to have verifiable information about the health status of passengers, I think that is going to be critical.”
IATA is already working on a universal digital health pass for international travel. iI the beginning of next year IATA wants to release the pass with selected airlines. Among other personal information the pass will contain data on COVID-19 testing including vaccination.
COVID vaccines soon will become available to the public. Many countries already make preparations for distributing vaccines to essential care workers and the most vulnerable. It is likely that governments will use the vaccination to lift COVID-19 testing requirement.
The airline industry was brought down to its knees when the pandemic started earlier this year. Airlines have been looking for ways to regain the confidence of the traveling public. The mass vaccination may become the only option to restart the domestic and the international travel once again.
To enter a country amid the coronavirus pandemic there are specific rules regarding self quarantine requirements, non essential travel, or PRC testing. The rules are often put in place by governmental agencies.
Alan Joyce statement, however, opens up the question of whether or not airlines can legally mandate coronavirus vaccination. It is also likely that PRC testing can still remain as a substitute for vaccination for the foreseeable future.
Korean Air and Air New Zealand echoed the Qantas vaccination decision. They may be among the fist airlines to adopt similar traveling policy.