Reader question: When Covid-19 vaccines become widely available, will it be mandatory to have one before flying? I want to be able to fly again but I am nervous about getting the vaccine.
The CEO of Australia’s largest airline Qantas has confirmed that the company will demand passengers be vaccinated before flying.
"We will ask people to have a vaccination before they can get on the aircraft... for international visitors coming out and people leaving the country we think that's a necessity," Alan Joyce told Australia's Nine Network on Monday (November 23).
He said in the interview that “it’s going to be a common theme across the board”.
For now, only Qantas has made such an announcement.
EasyJet has said that it will not require its passengers to be vaccinated, the Financial Times reported.
It is not yet known what vaccine policy French airlines will adopt.
Towards a global, digital Covid passport
Although there is no public word yet on whether many of the world’s airlines will require passengers to be vaccinated, there are technological developments to support it.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) reported on Monday that it is in the final development stage of creating a “digital health pass that will support the safe reopening of borders”.
It is called the IATA Travel Pass and will hold information on what tests, vaccines and other measures are required to travel, as well as giving passengers the ability to share their test and vaccination results in a safe and “privacy-protecting” manner.
“Our main priority is to get people travelling again safely,” Nick Careen, IATA's senior vice president of airport, passenger, cargo and security wrote in a press release.
“In the immediate term that means giving governments confidence that systematic COVID-19 testing can work as a replacement for quarantine requirements. And that will eventually develop into a vaccine program.
“The IATA Travel Pass is a solution for both,” he said.
The first cross-border IATA Travel Pass pilot is scheduled for later this year and the launch for the beginning of 2021.
There are other global passes too. One is being developed by non-governmental organisation The Commons Project Foundation and supported by the World Economic Forum, and is called CommonPass.
The World Economic Forum said of it:
“CommonPass aims to develop and launch a standard global model to enable people to securely document and present their COVID-19 status (either as test results or an eventual vaccination status) to facilitate international travel and border crossing while keeping their health information private.”
The CommonPass mobile phone application has already been tested on flights between London and New York.