AirAsia and Air New Zealand have become the first airlines in the world to make it mandatory for passengers aged 18 or over to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
The policy is effective immediately for AirAsia flights, while Air New Zealand will require customers travelling on its international network to be fully vaccinated from 1 February 2022.
Air New Zealand has also stated that travellers who are not vaccinated will be required to present proof that vaccination was not a viable option for them for medical reasons.
As part of its COVID-19 mitigation plan, AirAsia has made it mandatory for all guests to check-in via the airasia Super App, which will allow them to pass through the airport clearance and boarding process with an e-Boarding Pass, reducing physical interaction at the airport.
AirAsia Malaysia CEO Riad Asmat said: “The decision to accept only fully vaccinated guests for boarding is made in the best safety interest of our guests and employees. All our flights are operated by only fully-vaccinated pilots and cabin crew and this applies to all our ground services as well. We have also put in place numerous service enhancements and integration via the airasia Super App.
“Guests can look forward to a convenient and seamless self-check-in process via the Super App that allows for easy uploading and instant verification of health and vaccination documents, and contactless boarding via FACES facial recognition system. All these will minimise queuing and possible physical contacts at the counters and crowding at the airport.”
Air New Zealand’s Chief Executive Officer Greg Foran also commented: “We’re getting ready to reconnect with the world and letting customers know what they need to do to be ready to take off when we can. Being vaccinated against COVID-19 is the new reality of international travel – many of the destinations Kiwis want to visit are already closed to unvaccinated visitors. The quicker we get vaccinated, the sooner we can fly Kiwis to places like New York, Vancouver and Narita.
“We’ve been hearing from both customers and employees that this measure is important to them. It came through loud and clear in our recent consultation process with employees and we want to do everything we can to protect them. Mandating vaccination on our international flights will give both customers and employees the peace of mind that everyone onboard meets the same health requirements as they do.”