Qantas CEO wants COVID vaccine to be requirement for int’l travelers

Nov 25 , 2020. 20 hours ago – 14:40 KYODO NEWS

A Qantas commercial plane takes off at Sydney Airport in March 2019. (Getty/Kyodo)

SYDNEY – The CEO of Australian airline Qantas Airways Ltd. has proposed that once a coronavirus vaccine becomes widely available, passengers on international flights be required to show proof they are vaccinated prior to travel.

Speaking to Australia’s Nine Network on Monday, Alan Joyce said an electronic “vaccination passport” would be a “necessity” for travelers coming into, or leaving, Australia.

“We are looking at changing our terms and conditions to say for international travelers, we will ask people to have a vaccination before they can get on the aircraft,” Joyce said.

The CEO said it is unclear whether a similar requirement would be necessary for domestic travel.

Since March, Australia has effectively closed its borders to all international travel, with only repatriation flights of citizens and permanent residents allowed to land. All international arrivals into Australia must undergo 14-day quarantine.

The nation has successfully dealt with its virus outbreaks, particularly in the state of Victoria, and has now seen most restrictions lifted countrywide, including a number of internal border closures.

In light of multiple successful vaccine trials, Health Minister Greg Hunt said Tuesday that the government is aiming to distribute the first vaccines in March, with health workers and the elderly to be prioritized.

“Our expectation is that all Australians who seek it will receive a free vaccine, on a voluntary basis, during the course of 2021,” he said.