In an exclusive interview on Channel Nine’s A Current Affair (ACA) last night, Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce told host Tracy Grimshaw that passengers will need to have been vaccinated for COVID-19 before being allowed to travel on Qantas internationally.
Covering off on a range of topics to ACA host Tracy Grimshaw, Qantas CEO Alan Joyce said that any Australian who wants to travel overseas on Qantas will first have to receive a COVID-19 vaccination.
The segment, which was shot in the deserted Qantas First Class lounge at Sydney International Airport was scheduled to coincide with the New South Wales border reopening to Victoria and showcase Qantas’ first flights back between the two states.
“We are looking at changing our terms and conditions to say for international travellers that we will ask people to have a vaccination before they get on the aircraft.” Mr Joyce told Ms Grimshaw.
“Certainly, for international visitors coming out and people leaving the country we think that’s a necessity.”
The Qantas head honcho was also keen to suggest that other airlines around the world will also follow suit.
“I think that’s going to be a common thing talking to my colleagues in other airlines around the globe.”
With no confirmed forward plan for international borders reopening from the government, Alan Joyce has previously warned that international air travel out of Australia will not resume until there’s a vaccine available for staff and travellers.
Mr Joyce’s stance last night on ACA on the topic of vaccines was always going to be polarising and has since seen a trending #boycottqantas hashtag and numerous comments today vehemently disagreeing with mandatory vaccination including on Qantas’s Facebook Community Group page which has been flooded with negative comments.
Wendy Chatto said “I will never be flying with you again if you bring in no jab no-fly,”
While Paul J Lange said: “I find your position on passenger vaccination for CV19 untenable. You are forcing people to accept an untested pharmaceutical for which there is no legal recourse to the company that produces it.”
Another Qantas Frequent Flyer, Tom Grimshaw said he will cease flying Qantas if a vaccination is a requirement for travel, saying: “I do not use my body as a pin cushion for experimental medical procedures like rushed and improperly tested vaccines. To require it (A COVID vaccination) is a violation of informed consent to medical procedures. I will NOT be coerced into forced medical procedures for commercial transactions.”
However, there were some positive comments too, with Danny Dutton, for example, saying “I fully endorse the No Jab No Fly”.
A Current Affair also ran a poll on their Instagram stories page asking people if they would get vaccinated to travel internationally (in general) which garnered thousands of responses.
At the time of writing, 89% said no they would not.
On the topic of Travel bubbles, the Qantas CEO said if countries such as New Zealand, Singapore and Japan considered travel arrangements between Australia going ahead in early 2021, they would re-deploy aircraft right away.
Speaking about the resumption of Melbourne to Sydney flights, Mr Joyce was buoyant, saying “today we’re back to 70 flights on the first day of opening up.”
By Christmas, Qantas hope to return to at least 60 per cent of their previous capacity on the MEL-SYD route, and post-Christmas that they’ll be able to re-activate 1000 jobs for staff who have been stood down since March.
“If we can get Melbourne and Sydney back to where it was pre-COVID that will be 3000 people that didn’t have a role, were stood down, were working at Woolworths, somewhere else that are working for the airline again.”
As what is normally the second busiest flight route in the world, Mr Joyce said domestic flights between SYD and MEL have proven popular once more with 25,000 seats on Qantas and Jetstar sold within 48 hours when the border re-opening was announced just a few weeks ago.
In light of Queensland announcing today that it will reopen its borders to New South Wales and Victoria from December 1, it appears that domestic flying is only going to scale up even more in the coming festive season.
Which is fantastic news for everyone.
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