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January 23, 2021
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Qantas to make Covid-19 vaccine mandatory for international flights

MASCOT, Australia: Australia’s national carrier Qantas will require future international travellers to prove they have been vaccinated against Covid-19 before flying.

Qantas CEO Alan Joyce declared international travellers must have a Covid-19 vaccine to get on a flight.

However, the airline did not clear the vaccine will be mandatory for Australians at home or not.

Joyce said the airline was looking at changing its terms and conditions to “ask people to have a vaccination before they get on the aircraft.”

“Whether you need that 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,” the Qantas chief said.

Qantas has declined to elaborate on the comments made by Joyce.

Joyce is not the only one thinking about changes to international travel.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA), a group of 297 airlines including Qantas, is calling for systematic Covid-19 testing of all international travellers.

In August, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he expected the vaccine “to be as mandatory as you can possibly make it”.

But just hours later, Morrison said the government would not make vaccination mandatory for anybody.

“It’s not going to be compulsory to have the vaccine,” he said.

The government’s own vaccination policy already notes it could be mandatory for international travellers.

“While the Australian government strongly supports immunisation and will run a strong campaign to encourage vaccination, it is not mandatory and individuals may choose not to vaccinate,” it says.

“There may, however, be circumstances where the Australian government and other governments may introduce border entry or re-entry requirements that are conditional on proof of vaccination.”

A spokesperson for AirAsia said that once a vaccine was available the airline “will review the requirement for guests to be vaccinated against Covid-19 for international travel.”

Air New Zealand said it was “really encouraged by the news around vaccines” and said in a statement that “ultimately, 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.”