COVID-19: Qantas CEO, vaccination and international travel
In an almost not newsworthy interview, Alan Joyce CEO of Qantas Group has speculated that Qantas may require all passengers to have a COVID-19 vaccination, and provide proof before they fly.
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What Joyce said on testing and vaccination
Joyce was asked if more innovative ways should be explored for getting international flights going again. He responded that first off they wanted to have remaining domestic borders opened and mentioned the Queensland governments review of its border restrictions – particularly to Victoria and New South Wales – at the end of November.
On the international front, Qantas is currently trialling the use of the PCR tests for passengers returning on the international repatriation flights arriving in Darwin. They are also testing wastewater on these aircraft for COVID-19.
Joyce is saying if we don’t get a viable vaccine, then:
“Absolutely testing is the way to reduce the amount of time that’s needed in quarantine.”Alan Joyce, Qantas CEO on A Current Affair 23 November 2020
He is hopefull that the testing trial on the repatriation flights will provide data to reduce the quarantine time to 10, 7 or even 5 days.
“So if we don’t get bubbles and we don’t get a vaccine, then absolutely testing is the way to reduce the amount of time that is required in quarantine.”Alan Joyce, Qantas CEO on A Current Affair 23 November 2020
On the suggestion that mandatory vaccinations might be required on Qantas International flights:
“Qantas is looking at changing its terms and conditions to say for international travellers, that we will ask people to have a vaccination before they can get on the aircraft.
Whether you need that domestically, we will have to see what happens to COVID-19 in the market, but certainly, for international visitors coming out and people leaving the country we think that [vaccination] is a necessity”Alan Joyce, Qantas CEO on A Current Affair 23 November 2020
Joyce has talked to other airline CEO’s and he thinks that mandatory vaccination will be common across the world:
“What we are looking at is how you can have a vaccination passport – an electronic version of it, that certifies what the vaccine is. Is it acceptable to the country you’re travelling to. So there’s a lot of logistics, a lot of technology, that will be needed to be put in place to make this happen. But the airlines and the governments are working on this as we speak.”Alan Joyce, Qantas CEO on A Current Affair 23 November 2020
Qantas International’s future
Joyce, buoyed by the opening up of the Victoria border (remembering that the Sydney/Melbourne is one of the most lucrative routes in the world):
“We think that with the rollout of a vaccine next year, we are optimistic that we could see the [international] borders opening up quite significantly throughout 2021″Alan Joyce, Qantas CEO on A Current Affair 23 November 2020
Joyce also expressed his pleasure at being able to return 1,000 staff back to work with the opening of the Sydney Melbourne route.
‘Nothing to see here’ is my view on this. Obvs vaccination, which looks increasingly likely within months, is the way to go to get international aviation off the ground. The most interesting thing here is the introduction of the idea that vaccination may be required for domestic flying. That’s a new one for me, but it makes sense.
The international passport would be a good addition – presumably just an electronic version of the little yellow booklet I already carry around with me which contains my vaccination history – including the evidence of my Yellow Fever shot mandated for some South American countries.
Of course there already the anti-vaxers and the ‘I won’t let an airline mandate that I have a medical procedure’ freedom warriors over on Skynews already.