Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Qantas will require international travellers to prove Covid-19 jab to board flight

Proof will probably be stored in an electronic digital passport on passengers' phones.

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International air travellers will need to prove they have been vaccinated against Covid-19 in order to board Qantas flights in future, the airline says.

The Australian flag carrier said the move would be “a necessity” when vaccines are available.

“I think that’s going to be a common thing talking to my colleagues in other airlines around the globe,” CEO Alan Joyce said.

In an interview with Australia’s Nine Network on Monday, Joyce said Qantas was looking at ways of changing its terms and conditions for international travellers as the industry looks at ways of moving forward.

“We will ask people to have a vaccination before they can get on the aircraft. For international visitors coming in and people leaving the country we think that’s a necessity,” he told the broadcaster.

“Domestic flights are more of a question mark along these lines, but we’ll see what happens in the market.”

Joyce thinks proof could be stored in a kind of electronic “digital passport” that some governments and airlines already reportedly have in development.

Older travellers will remember the yellow World Health Organization passport-size record of vaccinations for cholera, typhoid, yellow fever and other then endemic diseases that international travellers to the developing world had to carry and keep up to date.

“There are always exemptions for any vaccine on medical grounds, but that should be the only basis,” he told radio station 3AW.

Joyce said at the time that trading conditions were the worst in the airline’s 100-year history. He said, “The impact of Covid-19 on all airlines is clear – it’s devastating.”

Australia shut down its international borders early in the pandemic and required those returning to quarantine. The country has more recently relied on lockdowns, widespread testing and aggressive contact tracing to push daily infections nationwide close to zero.

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