Qantas 787 9

Qantas 787-9. Photo Jetty Images

Did Qantas Shoot Itself In The Foot?

While airlines across the world are still in a desperately precarious situation, it seems one airline is content to remain in an affective coma.

I have been rather amused by recent new reports suggesting Qantas is to require all flyers be vaccinated before they can board a Qantas flight?

International air travellers will in future need to prove they have been vaccinated against Covid-19 in order to board Qantas flights, the airline says

Despite Australia having a relatively low infection and death rates compared to Europe, most of the country has been in strict restrictions the whole year. Other than repatriation flights, Qantas has all but ceased flying. I can understand the airline may not want to be responsible for bringing in new Covid infections into the country.

I cant help but question the motives behind such a statement now. It certainly does not seem it was with the intention of re-igniting Australian aviation anytime soon?

What timeframe are we talking here?

It’s unclear when in the future Mr Joyce is referring too. Are we talking the next few months? 2021? Or sometime beyond that?

For starters, a vaccine is yet to be approved by any western regulators. Secondly, even when it does, the logistics of vaccinating entire populations (let alone just Australia) is going to be a mammoth logistical task. It would seem reasonable that some young people may not even have a chance to be vaccinated until all priority groups have done so. So this may not happen for most people in 2021 still.

There may be many countries where vaccination is going to be much slower. Flyers can still be tested (both before and on arrival, or even be made to quarantine in required) and if they are all clear, there is no reason why they should not be able to fly? Why would Qantas want to kill off its own markets in such a manner?

Overall thoughts

It seems Qantas backed itself into an unnecessarily restrictive stance. I think airlines should be working together with governments to establish protocols to open up travel as safely as possible. As great as the news is with regards to the 3 promising vaccines, we still do not know if they would help stop the spread of the virus, other than just limited its affects within the individuals immunised for it. What do we do then?

Perhaps Qantas no longer really wants to be the international transport business? Or maybe Australia just wants to keep travellers out for the foreseeable future?