Qantas has become the latest airline to mandate Covid vaccines for its workforce.
It announced today that all frontline employees – including cabin crew, pilots and airport workers – will need to be fully vaccinated by November 15 and the remainder of employees by March 31 2022. There will be exemptions for those who are unable for documented medical reasons.
The decision follows consultation with Qantas and Jetstar employees, including a survey sent to 22,000 people to seek their views on vaccination.
The results showed that of those who responded 89% had already been vaccinated or are planning to be and only 4% were unwilling or unable to get the jab.
Around 75% think it should be a requirement for all employees to be vaccinated and would be concerned if other employees in the workplace weren’t vaccinated.
In a separate survey of more than 1000 Qantas customers, 92% cent said they expect Qantas crew to be fully vaccinated.
Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce said: “Having a fully vaccinated workforce will safeguard our people against the virus but also protect our customers and the communities we fly to.
“One crew member can fly into multiple cities and come into contact with thousands of people in a single day. Making sure they are vaccinated given the potential of this virus to spread is so important and I think it’s the kind of safety leadership people would expect from us.
“It’s clear that vaccinations are the only way to end the cycle of lockdowns and border closures and for a lot of Qantas and Jetstar employees that means getting back to work again. This was one of the largest responses to any survey we’ve conducted, even with thousands of our people stood down, which shows just how important this is for them.”
Further discussions will take place with Qantas employees, their health and safety representatives and unions over the coming weeks on the detail of the policy, including how medical exemptions will be applied.
Earlier this month, United Airlines became the first US airline to require Covid-19 vaccinations for all domestic employees and the move was followed by Hawaiian Airlines.
Cathay Pacific Airways said in June that all Hong Kong-based pilots and flight attendants would need to be vaccinated against Covid-19 by the end of August.