This Airline Is the Latest to Announce a Vaccine Requirement for International Travelers
Air New Zealand will require all international passengers to be fully vaccinated before boarding starting next year, the airline announced on Sunday.
"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," Air New Zealand's Chief Executive Officer Greg Foran said in a statement. "Being vaccinated against COVID-19 is the new reality of international travel… The quicker we get vaccinated, the sooner we can fly Kiwis to places like New York, Vancouver and Narita."
"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," he added.
The new mandate, which will go into effect on Feb. 1, 2022, will apply to all passengers 18 and older traveling on any one of the carrier's international routes.
Air New Zealand — consistently ranked as one of the best carriers in the world — will also continue to roll out the International Air Transport Associations (IATA) Travel Pass app, which it first started testing on flights between Auckland and Sydney.
Air New Zealand's decision to mandate vaccines comes after Qantas announced a similar policy in September. The Australian carrier plans to implement its vaccine requirement when it resumes international flights, which the airline hopes to restart on Nov. 14.
Similarly, Canada has decided to require all air and cruise passengers to be fully vaccinated before traveling as soon as this fall. And in France, domestic air, long-distance train, or bus passengers must have the country's digital health pass, which travelers can get by showing they are fully vaccinated or by showing a negative test taken within 72 hours.
For its part, New Zealand has implemented one of the strictest COVID-19-related travel policies in the world, closing its borders to most of the globe. In April, the country opened a two-way travel bubble with neighboring Australia but suspended it in July due to rising COVID-19 cases. Last month, that closure was extended until at least November, Reuters reported.
Nearly all arrivals to the country must quarantine for 14 days in a hotel and, starting Nov. 1, will also be required to be fully vaccinated to enter, according to the New Zealand government. The vaccination mandate applies to arriving foreign nationals 18 and older.
On Tuesday, Auckland, one of several areas that has been placed under a Level 3 lockdown, will slowly start to lift restrictions, allowing residents to travel within the region for exercise and outdoor recreation. Restaurants, bars, retail stores, and other public venues remain closed.
As of Monday, the country reported 31 new cases in 24 hours.
Alison Fox is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure. When she's not in New York City, she likes to spend her time at the beach or exploring new destinations and hopes to visit every country in the world. Follow her adventures on Instagram.