Etihad Airways has no plans to restrict travel to only those who have been fully vaccinated against coronavirus.
On Monday, the Kuwaiti government declared a travel ban, effective from May 22, on citizens not vaccinated against Covid-19. It follows a move in November last year by Qantas, who declared full inoculation would be necessary for international travellers on its flights.
According to reports, Korean Air and Delta Air Lines were also considering such a prerequisite for flying.
However, Martin Drew, Etihad Airways’ SVP global sales & cargo, told Arabian Business this was not in their future plan.
He said: “That’s something I don’t think we’ll go down that route of doing.
“I think that throughout this pandemic we’ve gone above and beyond in terms of ensuring we keep our guests safe. In addition to that, our wellness proposition as well is something that’s been incredibly well received in terms of the lengths that we’ve gone to, to really give the guests that peace of mind that travelling with Etihad is one of the safest ways to travel.”
In August last year, Etihad introduced 100 percent PCR testing for departures and arrivals and was also one of the first airlines in the world to have its entire crew vaccinated.
“We’ve gone that extra mile throughout this, and we’ll continue to do that,” said Drew.
Etihad is also one of several carriers currently trialling the International Air Transport Association (IATA) Travel Pass.
The trial, ongoing until May 31, will allow travellers flying to Chicago, New York, Washington, and Toronto from the UAE capital to create a ‘digital passport’ where their Covid-19 test results and other health records are stored.
“As we start to come out of this pandemic, certainly what’s needed is some sort of uniformed international protocol as to how people are really going to start travelling again,” said Drew. “The IATA Travel Pass is a potential solution to that.”
He added: “In addition to the IATA Travel Pass that we’re trialling, we are speaking to a number of other companies that are able to aggregate data from multiple sources to enable other types of digital passports as well. There’s a number of companies out there as you’d expect that have this sort of technology that’s being trialled.”
By Joe Cusmano