Airlines around the world are in a push to vaccinate its pilots and crew to help curb the spread of Covid-19 and offer greater peace of mind to passengers who travel with them.
Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, claimed it was the world's first carrier to vaccinate 100% of its onboard crew members.
The Middle Eastern airline began its 'Protected Together' initiative in January 2021, in tandem with the government’s target to vaccinate half of the UAE population by the end of March 2021.
“We proactively made the vaccine available to all our employees to not only help combat the effects of Covid-19 but to make travellers feel confident and reassured the next time they fly with us. We are the only airline in the world to make Covid-19 testing mandatory for every passenger and crew member before every flight and now, we’re the first airline in the world with 100% vaccinated crew on board," said Etihad Aviation Group CEO, Tony Douglas, who has received his Covid-19 vaccine.
Meanwhile, Israel’s El Al Airlines also touted that it has vaccinated all relevant flight crew as well as security and other service personnel. Local competitors Israir is said to have vaccinated 95% of its pilots, while Arkia Israeli Airlines has vaccinated 70% of its employees against Covid-19.
In Asia, SIA Group announced that its three passenger airlines — SIA, SilkAir and Scoot — operated 11 February flights with a full set of vaccinated pilots and crew. These were SIA flight SQ956 which departed for Jakarta at 0930hrs local time (GMT+8), Scoot’s TR606 which departed for Bangkok, Thailand also at 0930hrs, while SilkAir’s MI608 departed for Phnom Penh, Cambodia at 1630hrs.
"Vaccinations will be key to the reopening of borders and to enhancing travel confidence, in tandem with robust testing regimes and the wide-ranging safe management measures that are in place on the ground and in the air. They offer greater protection for our people and provide an added layer of assurance to our customers," said Goh Choon Phong, CEO, Singapore Airlines.
The Lion City hopes to vaccinate all front-line workers in Singapore’s aviation and maritime industries within two months. SIA Group reports that more than 90% of cabin crew and pilots have signed up for the vaccine to date.
Emirates, which has also launched a mass vaccination programme for its employees, is expected to be fully vaccinated in the coming weeks.