Covid-19 vaccination will be required to fly on Qantas, says airline boss

Alan Joyce, the Australian airline's chief executive, said he expects the stipulation to become common across the industry

(FILES) In this file photo taken on November 1, 2019, a Qantas Boeing 737-800 takes off from Sydney's Kingsford Smith airport in Sydney. International air travellers will need to be vaccinated against Covid-19 to fly with Australia's Qantas, the airline's CEO has said on November 23, 2020, adding the rule was likely to become "common" across the industry. / AFP / PETER PARKS
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All international travellers flying on Qantas will have to prove they have been vaccinated against Covid-19 before they can board.

The Australian airline’s chief executive, Alan Joyce, said vaccinations against the virus will become a prerequisite once they become freely available.

And based on his conversations with the bosses of other global carriers, the requirement will be “common,” he said.

“For international travellers, we will ask people to have a vaccination before they can get on the aircraft,” Mr Joyce told Australia’s Nine Network.

“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.

“I’m talking to my colleagues in other airlines around the globe, and I think it’s going to be a common thing across the board.”

Global airlines have posted heavy losses since the start of the outbreak, when flights were grounded to stem the spread of the virus.

Flights have since slowly resumed, but airlines' revenues are still down, which has forced most carriers to furlough workers or cut jobs.

Qantas is no exception, having posted an annual loss of almost A$2bn (Dh5.37bn) due to the pandemic.

Mr Joyce called the trading conditions “the worst in the airline's 100-year history” and said the impact of Covid-19 on all airlines was “devastating".

Australia has imposed some of the world’s most stringent Covid-19 restrictions, including locking down the city of Melbourne for 112 days to stem an outbreak in the country’s second wave of the virus.

At one stage, the state of Victoria, which has a population of 6.4 million people, saw cases surge to more than 700 a day.

However, Tuesday marked the 25th straight day with no new cases or deaths in the territory.

The last Covid-19 patient in the state was discharged on Monday, having cleared the virus.

World edges closer to Covid-19 vaccine