Qantas Will Require Vaccines for Passengers When It Resumes International Flights
Qantas is gearing up to resume international flights to the United States, United Kingdom, and Japan by the end of the year.
Australian airline Qantas plans to require passengers to be vaccinated against COVID-19 before boarding when international flights resume.
"Qantas will have a policy that internationally we'll only be carrying vaccinated passengers," Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce said while speaking at the Trans-Tasman Business Circle on Tuesday, according to news.com.au. "Because we think that's going to be one of the requirements to show that you're flying safe and getting into those countries. We're hoping that can happen by Christmas."
Qantas is gearing up to resume international flights to the United States, United Kingdom, and Japan by the end of the year, focusing on destinations with both high demand and low COVID-19 risk. The airline shut down its international operations in March 2020 and its aircraft have not left Australia since, flying popular flights "to nowhere."
International travel won't resume until the country reaches an 80% vaccination rate, however New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian has said domestic and regional travel in Australia can resume when the country hits a 70% vaccination rate, news.com.au reported. So far, 39.7% of people over 16 are fully vaccinated, according to the government's COVID-19 data.
Officials have previously said borders may not open until 2022.
For its part, Qantas has encouraged passengers to get vaccinated by giving away the chance to win free air travel for a year.
When it comes to its employees, the airline will require all frontline staff (like pilots and cabin crew) to be vaccinated by Nov. 15, and require all remaining employees to get the shot by the end of March 2022, news.com.au reported.
A representative for the airline did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Travel + Leisure.
Qantas isn't alone in mandating air passengers be vaccinated. Canada will require all air and cruise passengers to be fully vaccinated before traveling as soon as this fall. And France requires any domestic air, long-distance train, or bus passengers to have a digital health pass, which people can get by showing they are fully vaccinated or by showing a negative test taken within 72 hours.
In the U.S., several airlines have crafted policies to require the vaccine for employees but stopped short of mandating it for passengers.
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.