As COVID-19 vaccinations begin being rolled out across the globe, airlines have started to implement vaccination and testing rules. This week Etihad was the first airline to announce that 100% of its onboard crew have been vaccinated with a COVID-19 vaccine. Back in August 2020, Etihad was also the first airline to make COVID-19 testing mandatory before every flight.
Qantas announced in November 2020 that proof of vaccination would likely become a requirement for passengers boarding the carrier’s flights in and out of Australia once vaccines are more readily available. With the majority of the Australian population not expected to have access to a vaccine until in the second half of this year, there has been no mention of when this requirement might come into effect.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) is in the process of developing a digital pass system that will display COVID-19 PCR test and vaccination results for passengers that will be readily available to airlines and government authorities, effectively acting as a vaccine passport.
Some airlines, including Virgin Atlantic, Jet Blue, Lufthansa, Swiss and United are already working together to share COVID-19 PCR test results for passengers who are using another digital app called CommonPass. The same system will also be available to show proof of vaccination, however, it is likely IATA will eventually mandate the use of one system for all airlines.
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