Proof of COVID-19 vaccination will be a non-negotiable condition of international air travel, according to the Qantas CEO Alan Joyce.
Anti-vaxxers will be grounded in the brave new world, with Mr Joyce confirming vaccination will be a requirement to fly internationally.
Mr Joyce has repeatedly warned that international air travel won’t resume until there’s a vaccine available for staff and travellers, but on Monday night he went a step further, telling A Current Affair host Tracy Grimshaw that as soon as a vaccine becomes available it will be a condition of travel.
“For international travellers, we will ask people to have a vaccination before they get on the aircraft,’’ he said.
“Certainly, for international visitors coming out and people leaving the country we think that’s a necessity.”
If anti-vaxxers want to try alternative airlines, Mr Joyce predicted they won’t be travelling far.
“I think that’s going to be a common thing talking to my colleagues in other airlines around the globe,’’ he said.
The revelation prompted ABC presenter Tracey Holmes to ask on Twitter: “Hello all my legal friends … is this legal?.”
Another journalist, The Australian’s cricket writer Peter Lalor, replied, “I hope so.”
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has previously suggested vaccination will be “as mandatory as you can possibly make it” before walking those comments back in recent months.
“There are always exemptions for any vaccine on medical grounds, but that should be the only basis,” he said in August.
But just hours later, Mr Morrison told listeners on Sydney radio station 2GB that the Government would not make vaccination mandatory.
“It’s not going to be compulsory to have the vaccine,” he said.
“I mean, we can’t hold someone down and make them take it.”
The Qantas boss Alan Joyce is hoping to be back up to 60 per cent of the old business by Christmas as domestic flights resume between Sydney and Melbourne.
“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,’ he said.
Mr Joyce revealed 25,000 seats sold within 48 hours as soon as travel between NSW and Victoria opened up this month.
But it could be a long time before travel resumes to COVID-19 hot spots.
“Unfortunately with the levels of the virus in the United States and in Europe, we’re not going to see operations to those destinations in any real strength until we see a vaccine being rolled out, which is likely towards the end of 2021,” Mr Joyce said.