Australia’s largest airline, Qantas, is planning to make COVID-19 vaccination mandatory for passengers once the airline resumes flying to international destinations next year.
Speaking with Channel 9’s A Current Affair on Monday night, CEO Alan Joyce said “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.”
“Certainly for international visitors coming out, and people leaving the country. We think that’s a necessity.”
The prospects of mandatory vaccination on domestic flights would depend on “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 also said that has discussed the idea with other airlines globally. “It’s going to be a common theme across the board,” he said.
Proof of vaccination would likely be stored in an electronic ‘digital passport’, which is already under development by airlines and governments around the world.
“There’s a lot of logistics, a lot of technology that needs to be put in place to make this happen.”
There’s a glimmer of hope that Australians may be able to travel overseas next year.
According to Tourism Minister Simon Birmingham, the prospect of 2021 international holidays is “not impossible”. It will hinge upon the effectiveness of the covid-19 vaccine, scheduled to arrive in January of next year.
“It’s not impossible, and I would like to think that we will see such success in terms of both the vaccines and their effectiveness,” Birmingham told Sky News on Sunday.
International travel in the first six months of the year “may be challenging”, but there is a good chance it will resume the later half.