Alan Joyce, the Irish CEO of Qantas Airlines in Australia, discussed what international air travel might look like once a COVID-19 vaccine is rolled out.
During an interview with the Australian program A Current Affair, Joyce was asked if he thinks that passengers will be required to be vaccinated, once a vaccine is available, to board a plane.
“Yeah, we are looking at changing our terms and conditions to say for international travelers that we will ask people to have a vaccination before they can get on the aircraft,” Joyce said.
“Whether you need that domestically, we’ll have to see what happens with COVID-19 and the market. But certainly, for international visitors coming out and people leaving the country, we think that’s a necessity.”
Joyce added: “I think that's going to be a common thing talking to my colleagues in other airlines around the globe."
“And what we are looking at is how you can have a vaccination passport, an electronic version of it, which certifies what the vaccine is, and is it acceptable to the country you are traveling to.
“There is a lot of logistics and technology that will be needed to be put in place to make this happen but the airlines and governments are working on this as we speak.”
Joyce, who was born and raised in Dublin, became the Chief Executive Officer of the Australian-based airline in November 2008. In March of this year, it was announced that he was giving up his salary for the remainder of the fiscal year due to the pandemic.
His comments about compulsory vaccination before boarding a plane come as Pfizer, Moderna, and AstraZeneca announced that they have developed COVID-19 vaccines that have proven effective in late-stage trials.
Earlier in the interview, Joyce said: “We are being very optimistic like the ministers are, like a lot of the industry is, on the vaccine. We think with the rollout of a vaccine next year, we’re optimistic that we could see the borders opening up quite significantly through 2021.”
Regarding Europe and the US and “innovative ways” to reintroduce international travel, Joyce said: “What is great about the repatriation flights we are now doing from Europe in particular that are flying into Darwin, is that we are doing a test before people get on the test, a PCR test, and we are doing testing then in Darwin, which hopefully will allow us to determine whether 14 days quarantine is too long, can it be done shorter than that?
“We are actually testing the wastewater on the aircraft as well, to check if somebody on the aircraft had COVID- 19, and that's proving to have some very promising results.
“If we don't get travel bubbles, we don't get a vaccine, absolutely testing is the way to try and reduce the amount of time that's needed in quarantine.”
Joyce separately told 7 News in Australia: “We’ve always planned that by July next year we will start reactivating our long-haul international aircraft and get a lot of our people back to work.
“The news about the vaccines is very positive which I think is great for that border reopening plan.”
You can watch Alan Joyce's full interview with A Current Affair here:
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