Air New Zealand is introducing a “no jab, not fly” policy for international travellers.
“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,” Air NZ chief executive Greg Foran said.
”The quicker we get vaccinated, the sooner we can fly Kiwis to places like New York, Vancouver and Narita.”
The policy change will come into effect on February 1, from when any traveller aged 18 or over on the international network would have to be fully-vaccinated.
The policy will apply to all inbound and outbound international passengers.
A spokeswoman said the airline was reviewing whether the same policy would be rolled out to domestic flight.
“We’ll spend the next few months making sure we get this right, ensuring it works as smoothly as possible for our customers.”
“As with anything, there will be some that disagree,” Foran said.
“However, we know this is the right thing to do to protect our people, our customers and the wider New Zealand community.
Unvaccinated travellers would need to provide proof they couldn’t be vaccinated for medical reasons, he said.
When asked how this policy may impede unvaccinated citizens legal rights to return to New Zealand, a spokeswoman said over the next few months the company would be working through how the policy rolls out operationally.
“However we have a duty to keep our people and customers safe – and that’s what this is about. Other airlines may take a different approach,” she said.
When asked why the changes were being delayed until after the traditionally busy Christmas season, she said the airline wanted to give customers ample time to get vaccinated.
“We’re also part of a global aviation ecosystem and need to work through the operational details so this works seamlessly for customers.”