Qantas Airways plans to make vaccination against COVID-19 mandatory for international air travelers once the vaccine is widely available. Qantas CEO Alan Joyce expects other global aviation peers to follow suit.

In an interview with Australian television show A Current Affair, Qantas CEO Alan Joyce said "we are looking at changing our terms and conditions to say for international travelers, that we will ask people to have a vaccination before they can get on the aircraft."

The Australian flag carrier’s boss also explained that compulsory vaccination within Australia would depend on "what happens with COVID-19 in the market, but certainly for international visitors coming out, and people leaving the country, we think that's a necessity."

Therefore, a decision whether people need vaccination traveling domestically would be made later.

Following the news, Qantas CEO did not explain if such measurements would apply to people coming from countries where the COVID-19 vaccine might be slower to distribute.

Australian carrier’s boss believes that mandatory vaccination before international travel would be commonly accepted among other global aviation peers, “I think that’s going to be a common thing, talking to my colleagues in other airlines around the globe”.

However, the biggest challenge according to Joyce would be related to technological and logistical solutions. “What we’re looking at is how you can have the [proof of] vaccination in an electronic version of a passport that certifies what the vaccine is, if it’s acceptable the country you’re travelling to.”

Debates of mandatory vaccination

Despite the aspiration of governments to vaccinate as many people as possible, the legality of mandatory vaccination is seemingly a hot topic of debate. 

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Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morison said he expected the COVID-19 vaccine to be mandatory for everyone in Australia. However, soon after his statement, Morrison walked back from the previous comments on compulsory vaccines saying that “there are no mechanisms for compulsory … I mean, we can't hold someone down and make them take it."

In the interview Alan Joyce said that such measurements would be a necessity if the air travel wanted to reach pre-covid conditions.