The governments around the world would use COVID-19 as a “condition of entry” to allow international flights to resume, the chief executive of Australian airline Qantas has said.
In an interview with the BBC, Alan Joyce told that “governments are going to insist” on vaccines for international travellers.
If some were not prepared to take that step, it would be the airline’s responsibility to enforce its own rules, Mr Joyce argued.
“We have a duty of care to our passengers and to our crew, to say that everybody in that aircraft needs to be safe.”
He believes holidaymakers would also support the move. “The vast majority of our customers think this is a great idea – 90 per cent of people that we’ve surveyed think it should be a requirement for people to be vaccinated to travel internationally.”
Australia shut down its international borders early in the pandemic and require those returning to quarantine. Recently, the country has been relying on lockdowns and contact tracing to push the nationwide daily infections close to zero.
Mr Joyce said: “Once we open up our international borders, we’re going to have the virus circulating.
“And that’s going to be a big change for a lot of Australia, to find that acceptable. We need people to understand they can’t have zero risk with this virus. We manage risk in so many different other ways for other parts of life.”
Mr Joyce comments come as a rise in coronavirus infections has led to countries across Europe imposing tougher restrictions, with scientists concerned about outbreaks of the South African variant.
However, airlines and holiday companies are desperate to see a recovery in international travel.
Earlier this year, the EU announced details of its proposals for a vaccine “green pass” to allow non-essential travel to resume over the summer. The scheme is designed to allow freedom of movement within the bloc for its 450 million citizens, but will also be available to non-EU nationals in countries where travel to the EU is permitted.