One of the first clear policies of its kind, Air New Zealand, will require its international passengers to be vaccinated in order to fly. Announced on October 3rd, this requirement will apply to all passengers aged 18 and older arriving or departing the country on Air New Zealand aircraft, coming into effect from February 1st, 2022.
We’ve heard of countries waiving testing and/or quarantine requirements for the vaccinated, as well as airlines requiring vaccinations for their employees. However, Air New Zealand’s policy takes things a step further with a requirement for its own passengers to be vaccinated. Qantas has noted that it will have a similar policy in place when it resumes international travel but has yet to offer a clear set of rules in the way that Air New Zealand has.
“Being vaccinated against COVID-19 is the new reality of international travel –many of the destinations Kiwis want to visit are already closed to unvaccinated visitors. The quicker we get vaccinated, the sooner we can fly Kiwis to places like New York, Vancouver and Narita.” – Greg Foran, Chief Executive Officer, Air New Zealand, via statement.
The airline states that from February 1st, 2022, all customers traveling anywhere on its international network will be required to be fully vaccinated. In the carrier’s “Vaccination FAQs document,” the following details are included in the policy:
The airline adds that customers who are not vaccinated “will be required to present proof that vaccination was not a viable option for them for medical reasons.”
“As with anything, there will be some that disagree,” states airline CEO Greg Foran, adding, “we know this is the right thing to do to protect our people, our customers, and the wider New Zealand community. We’ll spend the next few months making sure we get this right…[giving] anyone wanting to travel from next year plenty of time to get their vaccination.”
We don’t need to look any further than social media sites to gauge public response to the airline’s policy. As might be expected, the reaction is a mix of both support and outrage, with some users proclaiming an end to their relationship with Air New Zealand.
What a fantastic, innovative way to loose a significant number of customers and supporters 👏👏👏 well done
— 🌞🇳🇿Elaine (@Elaine80076565) October 2, 2021
Others, of course, are supportive and defend the airline’s tough stance. Some have noted that this could be just the start as other airlines weigh similar requirements for passengers.
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For those flying to or from New Zealand, here’s what you need to know:
The obvious question of the day: What do you think of Air New Zealand’s vaccination requirement for passengers? And could this indeed be just the start of a trend among major airlines? Let us know your thoughts and opinions by leaving a comment.
Deputy Editor – An experienced photographer and video producer, Chris is a journalistic natural. Degree educated with a wealth of traveling history, Chris’ insight into routes, networks, and alliances brings a depth of quality to his work that is hard to beat. His strong relationships with Middle Eastern and Canadian airlines make him an asset to the team. Currently based in Vilnius, Lithuania.