Qantas CEO: 'Governments are going to insist' on vaccines for international travelers

Qantas CEO: 'Governments are going to insist' on vaccines for international travelers
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The CEO of an Australian airline said he thinks “governments are going to insist” on vaccines for international travelers “as a condition of entry.”

Alan Joyce of Qantas Airways Limited told the BBC that he thinks “once everybody is vaccinated,” governments are going to require that international travelers are vaccinated if they want to enter a country. He said they will no longer be permitted to quarantine in a hotel for 14 days as a way to enter.

Even if some countries decide against this policy, Joyce said he thinks airlines should enforce their own guidelines, out of their “duty of care.”

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"We have a duty of care to our passengers and to our crew, to say that everybody in that aircraft needs to be safe,” Joyce said.

Joyce thinks passengers would be supportive of this change. He said 90 percent of the people he surveyed think it’s a “great idea.”

“The vast majority of our customers think this is a great idea - 90 percent of people that we've surveyed think it should be a requirement for people to be vaccinated to travel internationally,” Joyce said.

The World Health Organization, however, is not on board with such a proposal. Bernardo Mariano, the organization’s director of digital health and innovation, shot down the initiative, telling the BBC “We don’t approve the fact that a vaccinations passport should be a condition for travel.”

He added that regardless of what the public sector is in favor of, such a change would require a “unified approach from governments,” the BBC wrote.

The Hill has reached out to the Centers for Disease Control for comment.

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The airline industry was hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic. Earlier this month, the Airports Council International - North America released a report that found that U.S. airports need $115.4 billion in infrastructure investments over the next five year to address crucial needs, including improving the air passenger experience, increasing convenience, enhancing security, expanding competition and lowering prices for travelers.

The industry, however, has seen a partial rebound in recent weeks. On Thursday, the Transportation Security Administration reported that more than 1.4 million people traveled through U.S. airports on Wednesday, which marked the eighth consecutive day that travel volume exceeded 1 million.

The last time airport activity was this high was the week of March 15, 2020, when more than 1.5 million people passed through TSA checkpoints before lockdowns and recommendations against air travel set in.