If you’re looking to fly internationally on Qantas airlines when those flights resume at some point in the near future, you’ll need to be fully vaccinated against the coronavirus.
Speaking to the Trans-Tasman Business Circle earlier this week, Qantas CEO Alan Joyce said the airline would ban unvaccinated passengers from its flights.
“Qantas will have a policy that internationally we’ll only be carrying vaccinated passengers,” Joyce said, according to Traveller. “Because we think that’s going to be one of the requirements to show that you’re flying safe and getting into those countries.”
Australia’s borders remain closed because of the pandemic with a few exceptions. Australian citizens and permanent residents are allowed to enter from outside the country, as well as visitors who can prove a compelling need to travel. Tourism is not a valid reason.
Joyce believes the borders will be open by the end of the year and is preparing passengers now for the new rules that will be in effect.
“We think everybody should be protecting themselves, but we also have a requirement to protect our colleagues and our passengers,” Joyce said. “And then there’s also a requirement to protect the community.”
Joyce did not specify if the policy will be enforced for domestic flights.
As part of the company’s safety program, Qantas has mandated that all of its employees be fully vaccinated as well. Qantas has about 22,000 employees.
The Australian government has said its borders will open to international travelers once the nation has 80 percent of its residents fully vaccinated. Joyce expects that to happen by December, and the date can’t come soon enough. He said people need to be able to travel for the Christmas holidays.
“The population needs it,” he said. “I think people want to connect together, people want to see family again. People want to do business again. There’s a lot of very important reasons why we should start opening up when we meet those key targets on the vaccination play.”
Australia has been one of the major success stories during the pandemic with numbers much lower than most of the world. Since the outbreak began, Australia has recorded just under 70,000 cases and 1,076 deaths, according to government health statistics.
About two-thirds of the population over the age of 16 have received at least the first dose of the vaccine.