Air New Zealand is asking customers to prepare for international travel by getting vaccinated. From 1 February 2022, the airline will require customers travelling anywhere on its international network to be fully vaccinated.
"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," said Air New Zealand's chief executive officer Greg Foran.
"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."
These requirements would sit alongside the measures the airline has already taken to keep New Zealand safe.
It's not just customers who will be required to be vaccinated – it's everyone on board an Air New Zealand aircraft travelling internationally, adding to the health and safety measures we already have in place. Another tool in our toolbox.
"As with anything, there will be some that disagree. However, we know this is the right thing to do to protect our people, customers and the wider New Zealand community. We'll spend the next few months ensuring we get this right, ensuring it works as smoothly as possible for our customers. This also gives anyone wanting to travel from next year plenty of time to get their vaccination."
"To take some of the friction out of the travel experience and to help our customers know exactly what they need to travel before even getting to the airport, we're continuing to work on rolling out the International Air Transport Associations (IATA) Travel Pass app."
The airline would continue to work closely with the Government and Airport groups on the Reconnecting New Zealanders plan.
Air New Zealand's vaccination requirement will apply to all passengers aged 18 and over arriving or departing New Zealand on an Air New Zealand aircraft. Customers who are not vaccinated would be required to prove that vaccination was not a viable option for them for medical reasons.