Alan Joyce is the CEO of Australian airline Qantas. He has said that Qantas has a “duty of care” to its passengers and that requiring people to be vaccinated before flying would ensure that this policy is implemented.
Alan Joyce told the BBC yesterday that governments around the world “are going to insist” on vaccines for international travellers.
The Qantas CEO said many governments were talking about tourists being vaccinated as “a condition of entry”.
However, even if they weren’t, Mr Joyce believed that the airline should enforce its own policy.
He said: “We have a duty of care to our passengers and to our crew, to say that everybody in that aircraft needs to be safe.”
Mr Joyce added that he thinks Qantas passengers would be willing to accept this change.
He said: “The vast majority of our customers think this is a great idea.
“Ninety percent of people that we’ve surveyed think it should be a requirement for people to be vaccinated to travel internationally.”
However, the Director of Digital Health and Innovation at the World Health Organisation, Bernardo Mariano, disagreed.
He told the BBC: “We don’t approve the fact that a vaccinations passport should be a condition for travel.”
Mr Mariano said that a unified approach from governments would be needed to make such a change possible.
Currently, Australia’s borders are closed to almost all international travellers.
The Australian government has said international travel could be banned for Australians until at least June.
However, Department of Health Secretary Dr. Brendan Murphy has said the nation’s borders may be closed to international travel for most of the year, depending on Australia’s vaccination programme.
Dr. Murphy told Australian news channel ABC: “I think that we’ll go most of this year with still substantial border restrictions.
“Even if we have a lot of the population vaccinated, we don’t know whether that will prevent transmission of the virus.”
Qantas boss Mr Joyce agreed with this, telling the BBC that “once we open up our international borders, we’re going to have the virus circulating”.
Mr Joyce added: “And that’s going to be a big change for a lot of Australia, to find that acceptable.
“We need people to understand they can’t have zero risk with this virus. “We manage risk in so many different other ways for other parts of life.”
The Australian government hopes to have vaccinated all adults by October this year.
Therefore, last month, Qantas pushed back the date at which it expects to resume international flights from July to the end of October.
Mr Joyce said that the most in-demand international ticket is for the ultra-long haul flight from Perth to London, without any changeovers.
“The number one flight by a significant amount is Perth to London non-stop,” the CEO explained.