Etihad Airways says that it has become the first airline in the world to vaccinate all its operating pilots and cabin crew.
In a statement, Tony Douglas, group chief executive officer of Etihad Aviation Group, said: “We proactively made the vaccine available to all our employees to not only help combat the effects of COVID-19 but to make travelers feel confident and reassured the next time they fly with us. We are the only airline in the world to make COVID-19 testing mandatory for every passenger and crew member before every flight and now, we’re the first airline in the world with 100 percent vaccinated crew on board.
Etihad’s ‘Protected Together’ employee vaccination initiative was formally launched in January 2021. The program was built on the foundation of the UAE’s “Choose to Vaccinate” campaign. In collaboration with UAE health authorities, Etihad facilitated frontline staff access to the Emirates’ “Emergency Use Program” which allowed the airline to secure vaccinations for pilots and cabin crew.
Dr. Nadia Bastaki, vice president medical services and CSR at Etihad Aviation Group, said in a statement: “Following the national vaccination program, we worked tirelessly to become an approved COVID-19 vaccination clinic to support our staff and their dependents, to be able to easily access the vaccine. Since December 2020, we have been offering in-house vaccination appointments to our employees and their loved ones to ensure we are focused on our employee’s wellbeing.”
Other airlines around the world are urging their employees to be vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus. Last month Singapore Airlines announced an employee campaign to become the first fully-vaccinated airline in the world. In addition to SIA’s cabin crews, the voluntary vaccination effort extends to gate agents, baggage handlers and cleaning crews, security screeners, passenger service agents and cargo handlers.
Meanwhile CNBC is reporting that United Airlines’ CEO Scott Kirby told employees the airline might consider making COVID-19 vaccinations mandatory for its entire workforce. While other carriers are grappling with ways to get more employee participation, making vaccination a requirement has thus far been ruled out by most airlines.
Etihad says that it has now vaccinated over 75 percent of its workforce and that all personnel who deal with passengers have been vaccinated.