In this article you will find a list of which airlines have COVID-19 vaccinated crew and by when. Worldwide, the number of airlines requiring their crew to be vaccinated against COVID-19 is increasing rapidly. Travelers want to feel safe and carriers are responding to this. Is your favorite airline listed?
After publication, this article will be frequently updated with the latest developments. In reverse chronological order (latest on top).
What to do if you are an airline in times of COVID-19. The pandemic is leading to enormous dilemmas. On the one hand, you have a duty of care towards both customers and staff. On the other hand, costly lawsuits, customer and employee departures threaten in a market with fierce competition and record losses. And that in combination with an enormous amount of rules from different governments and bodies that they have to deal with. A turbulent time.
airBaltic, Latvia's national airline, has set a deadline of November 15, 2021 for its employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19. 87% of staff are already vaccinated against or immune to the virus. airBaltic currently employs 1,366 people, including 200 pilots and 342 cabin crew members.
Source: Baltic Times 13 October 2021
Southwest Airlines employees must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by December 8, 2021, or have an excemption on the basis of religious reasons, medical cause or disability, in order to continue working for the airline.
Source: Southwest Media 4 October 2021
American Airlines, Alaska Airlines & JetBlue Airways
American Airlines, JetBlue and Alaska Airlines have joined United Airlines in mandating that US based employees must be vaccinated against COVID-19. For American Airlines the deadline is unclear, for Alaska and JetBlue it’s December 8, 2021. This date is linked to new rules set by the White House.
Source: Wall Street Journal 2 October 2021
Canada’s WestJet Airlines has announced that all employees not fully vaccinated by October 30, 2021 will be given unpaid leave or termination of employment. Canada will require travelers to be fully vaccinated in order to enter the country from November 30, 2021. As a result, airlines are no longer allowed to transport unvaccinated passengers.
Source: Reuters 8 September 2021
All flight staff of the Hungarian low-cost airline Wizz Air have been asked to get vaccinated against the Coronavirus before December 1, 2021.
Source: Hungary Today 2 September 2021
Air Canada flight crews must be fully vaccinated by October 30, 2021. Failure to do so will have consequences up to and including unpaid leave, termination of employment and not getting hired for newbies.
Source: Air Canada press release 25 August 2021
Swiss International Air Lines
Swiss will make COVID-19 vacination mandatory for their entire flying personnel from mid-November onwards. Swiss decided to do this for operational reasons and under their duty of care towards their employees.
Source: Twitter 24 August 2021
Singapore Airlines, Scoot & Jetstar Asia
Singapore Airlines frontline staff in Singapore, including pilots and cabin crew, must be September 1, 2021 fully vaccinated. Scoot’s frontline staff in Singapore have been told they must be fully vaccinated by December 1, 2021.
Budget airline Jetstar Asia was the first out of three Singapore airlines to announce that all staff – including office workers – are required to be vaccinated against COVID-19 by October 1, 2021.
Source: Straits Times 19 August 2021
Toronto-based Canadian airline Porter Airlines requires all its employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19 before returning to work, or show a negative test certificate, taken within 72 hours of commencing their first shift. Porter Airlines restarts after 1.5 years.
Source: CBC 18 August 2021
Qantas & Jetstar
Australian airline Qantas requires its crew members to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. By November 15, 2021, all frontline workers, including cabin crew, pilots and airport staff, must be fully vaccinated. All other employees have until March 31, 2022 to be vaccinated. This rule applies to all employees of Qantas and its budget airline Jetstar. Qantas was the first airline to announce this intention already last year.
Source: The Guardian 18 August 2021
Malaysia Airlines indicates that all of their active pilots and cabin crew have been vaccinated against COVID-19. The only exception is people with health and medical reasons.
Source: The Star 17 August 2021
Hawaiian Airlines has required its American crew members to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 before November 1, 2021.
Source: CNBC 10 August 2021
United Airlines was the first major American airline to demand a COVID-19 vaccination from its employees. And provide proof of it. All 67,000 U.S. airline employees must be fully vaccinated by October 25, 2021.
Source: CNBC 6 August 2021
Update: United Airlines to let unvaccinated employees return to their jobs from March 28, 2022.Source: Reuters 10 March 2022
American low-cost airline Frontier Airlines requires its staff to be vaccinated as of October 1, 2021. However, staff may also work with a negative test certificate.
Source: CNBC 6 August 2021
Cathay Pacific has informed all its Hong Kong-based flight crew that bby 31 August 2021 they must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
Source: China Morning Post 24 June 2021
Alliance Airlines is the first Australian airline to make vaccinations against COVID-19 and Influenza (flu) mandatory. It is not clear when the staff members must be fully vaccinated.
Source: The Australian 31 May 2021
At Qatar Airways, meaning the entire group, so all airport personnel, cabin crew, ground handling personnel, retail personnel, etc. are already more than 95% vaccinated. The rest will be vaccinated next week (=early June 2021).
Source: Simple Flying 29 May 2021
Delta Airline will require all new US employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19 effective May 17, 2021. About 75% of existing staff has already been vaccinated. The Delta Airlines board believes they can take other additional steps and measures to increase vaccination coverage even further [without making it mandatory].
Source: Delta News Hub 14 May 2021
Emirates Airlines from Dubai has given its employees a choice: a free COVID-19 vaccination or pay for the tests themselves to prove that they are not infected. This rule has been in effect since March 15, 2021.
Source: Reuters 11 March 2021
A few days after Etihad’s announcement, Israeli airline El Al also claimed to have made history as the world’s first airline to have all its relevant personnel, including cabin crew, security staff, pilots and other service personnel, vaccinated against COVID-19.
Source: J Post 13 February 2021
Etihad was the first of all airlines to announce in February 2021 that their staff has been vaccinated against COVID-19. At least all crew members on board their aircrafts. Months before I still had to get my first shot!
Source: Business Insider 10 February 2021
Other Asian airlines
Airlines that do not require crew members to be vaccinated against COVID-19 also report high vaccination rates among their flight crew. For example, China Airlines from Taiwan says that all pilots and cabin crew have received at least a first dose. And more than 90% of EVA Airways flight crew have received both doses.
Philippine Airlines indicates that 90% of the flight crew are vaccinated. Philippine budget airline Cebu Pacific says that 92% of the staff, including 97% of the pilots, have now been vaccinated against COVID-19. 92% of Air Asia Philippines employees, including 97% of cabin crew, are vaccinated.
Source: Reuters 20 August 2021
So far, airlines have been reluctant to require vaccination from passengers. Upon boarding, they check passengers for the requirements set by the designated country. In most cases, this is a form of Corona proof, that is usually: proof of vaccination, proof of recovery or negative test certificate. This passenger policy might still change when the travel world opens up further, but I don’t really expect that.
Australia, for example, is already extremely strict in its COVID-19 policy. I expect they will continue to be strict with inbound travelers and Australian airlines will follow this policy. And other countries are less strict. My expectation is that the national airlines of those countries will not be more strict than the country itself. After all, all airlines want to make money again.
The purpose of this policy is to provide passengers with the security and peace of mind to confidently choose to travel with any particular airline. You may wonder what the point is of forcing staff to be vaccinated against COVID-19, while – from the airlines – this does not apply to passengers. But for me there is no doubt: every vaccination counts. Because every person counts. Health is so important, we have to protect it.
COVID-19 has already killed millions worldwide. Whether you should really force someone to get a vaccination is another discussion. But yes, those who really don’t want it, still have the freedom and choice to look for other work. And don’t forget: airline crew comes into contact with a lot of people during their work. Vaccinating is certainly for their own good too. I’m for it anyway!
The above mentioned airlines see their duty of care as carriers, both for crew and customers. To do what is within our power to ensure that we can travel as safely as possible while also ending this pandemic. Vaccination has proven useful to prevent people from becoming seriously ill as much as possible, if they do become infected with the Coronavirus. And understandably, the airlines don’t want to bear the costs of testing for employees who refuse to be vaccinated. The question is whether, and if so when, which (European) airlines will follow this policy for COVID-19 vaccinated crew. I’m curious.
I wrote several articles about COVID-19. Want to read more on this topic? Check out the COVID-19 Blog Archives.
Last Updated on 02/01/2023 by Elisa Flitter Fever