No vaccine, no flight, warns Quantas CEO Alan Joyce.
Proof of COVID-19 vaccination will be a non-negotiable condition of international air travel, the head of the Australian airline said in an interview with the local television show A Current Affair on Monday.
“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.”
Joyce added that he expected other airlines to make the same prohibition. “If anti-vaxxers want to try alternative airlines, 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 noted.
The announcement sparked a furious reaction on Twitter, a wave of objections.
“What right does Alan Joyce have to demand that we will only be allowed to travel with Qantas if we first prove we have been vaccinated against COVID-19? My health and vaccination status is none of his concern,” one irate tweet read.
“Is this dystopia real?” asked another. “I will never use Qantas again, and I hope the world boycotts any company that adopts this policy.”
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has previously suggested vaccination will be “as mandatory as you can possibly make it” several months ago.
But, in reaction to the Qantas announcement, 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.”
Lawyers commented in tweets that such a policy might be against the law. “There could be a real legal battle if this policy is enforced,” one Australian lawyer said.
“I think lots of us will just find other ways to travel,” another commented.