LONDON – Air New Zealand has announced plans to implement a ‘no jab, no fly’ regime starting in February 2022.
This means that from February 1, 2022, customers using Air New Zealand will be required to be fully vaccinated in order to fly.
Adhering to Customer’s Needs and Wants?
Commenting on the news was the airline’s CEO Greg Foran, who explained that this is something that their customers have been asking for.
“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”.
“Being vaccinated against COVID-19 is the new reality of international travel –many of the destinations Kiwis want to visit are already closed to unvaccinated visitors. The quicker we get vaccinated, the sooner we can fly Kiwis to places like New York, Vancouver, and Narita.
“We’ve been hearing from both customers and employees that this measure is important to them. It came through loud and clear in our recent consultation process with employees and we want to do everything we can to protect them.”
“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.”
“It’s not just customers who will be required to be vaccinated – it’s everyone on board an Air New Zealand aircraft traveling internationally, adding to the health and safety measures we already have in place. Another tool in our toolbox.
“As with anything, there will be some that disagree. However, we know this is the right thing to do to protect our people, our customers, and the wider New Zealand community.”
“We’ll spend the next few months making sure we get this right, ensuring it works as smoothly as possible for our customers. This also gives anyone wanting to travel from next year plenty of time to get their vaccination.”
“To take some of the friction out of the travel experience and to help our customers know exactly what they need to travel before even getting to the airport, we’re continuing to work on rolling out the International Air Transport Associations (IATA) Travel Pass app.”
Will this be needed going into 2022?
As Foran says, there of course will be people who will disagree with this motion, but as with a mask mandate, a vaccination mandate may be a step in the right direction to prevent outbreaks in the short term.
However, as we look towards the long-term aspect, a lot of consensus within the industry and the rest of the world is that the virus now needs to be treated like the flu.
There are, of course, skeptics, who don’t want to take the vaccine due to whatever such beliefs they have, whether it be a lack of trust due to the speedy rollout or whether it’s just a personal belief.
Going forward, therefore, it is one of those catch-22s where we will eventually just have to get on with it. But that of course will be at a point where the pandemic is not the threat that it is currently posing.
But for Air New Zealand, for now, this is something that can be commended as a motion towards disabling the virus from re-spreading quickly again at the rate that it did back in March last year.