Story at a glance

  • Alaska Airlines and JetBlue Airways reportedly told its staff they are required to get vaccinated under federal law since the airlines are government contractors.
  • Other major airlines have implemented new vaccine mandates.

Alaska Airlines and JetBlue Airways officials reportedly told their employees that under new federal regulations they must get vaccinated, since the airlines act as government contractors in addition to commercial airlines.

CNBC reports that Alaska Airlines and JetBlue issued a deadline of Dec. 8 for its employees to get vaccinated.

In early September, President Biden issued an executive order requiring federal employees to get vaccinated in a bid to halt new infections from contagious COVID-19 strains. 

“Since our company does significant work for the federal government, we have determined that Alaska Airlines, Horizon Air and McGee employees – all part of Alaska Air Group – do fall under this federal vaccine mandate, along with other major U.S. airlines,” The airline reportedly said Thursday in a staff letter. “This means all of our employees, including certain contractors and vendors, will be required to be fully vaccinated, or be approved for a reasonable accommodation such as medical conditions or religious beliefs that prevent them from being vaccinated.”

Since vaccines have been widely approved for most demographics, airlines have been working to encourage their staff to get vaccinated while the industry emerges from a pandemic-induced recession. 

One incentive includes a $200 cash reward for Alaska Airlines employees to present proof of vaccination. 

JetBlue, meanwhile, sent out a similar note saying the airline will require vaccinations ahead of holiday season travel.

“Based on the guidance issued, all JetBlue Crewmembers – regardless of working in the operation, a support center, or at home – will be required by the government to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 to continue performing their role,” JetBlue’s CEO Robin Hayes and COO Joanna Geraghty reportedly wrote.

Other major airlines, namely United, made headlines recently as executives decided to lay off nearly 600 employees who refused to get vaccinated.

Prior to this, United employees filed a federal lawsuit against the airline attempting to get an injunction against the mandate from going into effect.

A spokesperson from Alaska followed up on the report, telling reporters that a “significant majority” of the airline’s employees are already vaccinated.

Published on Oct 01, 2021