Air New Zealand CEO Greg Foran makes an announcement that only vaccinated passengers will be allowed to travel internationally. “Today we’re announcing vaccination on all our international flights is going to be required. What we’re seeing is countries are closing their doors unless you are vaccinated,” said Horan.
This ‘no jab, no fly’ policy will be in effect beginning February 1, 2022 which is around three months away. According to Air New Zealand’s official media statement, “Air New Zealand’s vaccination requirement will apply to all passengers aged 18 and older arriving or departing Aotearoa on an Air New Zealand aircraft. Customers who are not vaccinated will be required to present proof that vaccination was not a viable option for them for medical reasons.”
In 2020, the aviation sector faced a major crisis when the COVID-19 pandemic grounded a majority of air travel both international and domestic. While New Zealand government was able to manage the impact of the pandemic locally, international travel remained restricted.
In a video interview for the NZ Herald, Horan underscored the importance of getting vaccinated for those who have travel plans in the near future. “So the opportunity now is to get out get vaccinated and then we can get everyone traveling overseas as soon as we can. You know our first real glimmer now that international was starting to take off so get vaccinated get that double dose done shoot down to the pharmacy and then we can get our planes in the air and most importantly, you travelling overseas.”
Alongside the ‘no jab, no fly’ policy, NZ government is also working on an (International Air Transport Associations) IATA Travel Pass app to “check customer health information against flight details to ensure passengers meet entry requirements for the destination.” The country will also reopen its borders before the end of the year for non-New Zealand residents. This comes as a major decision point since restricting travel for non-residents in March 2020.
Aside from Air New Zealand, Qantas has also joined the Kiwi airline in declaring a ‘no jab, no fly’ policy as well. US airlines are also expected to follow suit.
People have mixed reactions on social media. Some agree that requiring vaccination before flying is a reasonable ask for travellers, while some disagree citing lack of access to a vaccine.
Air New Zealand is the flag carrier airline of the country flying to 32 international destinations in 20 countries.