Following the example of Australian flag carrier Qantas, Air New Zealand is demanding that all passengers must be double vaccinated before being allowed to fly. Jenny Southan reports
Air New Zealand recently confirmed that people planning to travelling on its international flights will be required to be fully vaccinated from early next year. (At the moment about 50 per cent of it population is double jabbed.)
The airline said that its “no jab, no fly” policy will come into effect for people travelling anywhere on the carrier’s international network from February 1, 2022.
The policy will apply to all passengers aged 18 or over arriving or departing New Zealand on one of the airline’s aircraft, unless they can “present proof that vaccination was not a viable option for them for medical reasons”.
Air New Zealand will use the IATA Travel Pass to confirm customers’ vaccine status and flight details, to ensure they meet entry requirements for both the destination and the airline.
Air New Zealand’s CEO Greg Foran said in a statement: “We’re getting ready to reconnect with the world and letting customers know what they need to do to be ready to take off when we can.
“Being vaccinated against Covid-19 is the new reality of international travel – many of the destinations Kiwis want to visit are already closed to unvaccinated visitors. The quicker we get vaccinated, the sooner we can fly Kiwis to places like New York, Vancouver and Tokyo Narita.
“We’ve been hearing from both customers and employees that this measure is important to them. It came through loud and clear in our recent consultation process with employees and we want to do everything we can to protect them.
“Mandating vaccination on our international flights will give both customers and employees the peace of mind that everyone onboard meets the same health requirements as they do.
“It’s not just customers who will be required to be vaccinated – it’s everyone on board an Air New Zealand aircraft travelling internationally, adding to the health and safety measures we already have in place. Another tool in our toolbox.
“As with anything, there will be some that disagree. However, we know this is the right thing to do to protect our people, our customers and the wider New Zealand community.
“We’ll spend the next few months making sure we get this right, ensuring it works as smoothly as possible for our customers. This also gives anyone wanting to travel from next year plenty of time to get their vaccination.”