COVID-19 pandemic changed the definition of airline travel drastically. For airlines, 2020 was about repatriation, cargo flights and supply of essential goods. But slowly, things are ready to move to the next step by easing some travel restrictions. We all have been paranoid about the virus! From compulsory RT-PCR tests to seven days quarantine and a bunch of restrictions for safe travel, we are getting accustomed to the new normal. 2021 is seeing the introduction of vaccination drives across different countries for frontline workers and staffs.
Factors like a sanitized cabin with the assurance of a safe and healthy crew will make the air travel more peaceful and confident. Many airlines have begun with the vaccination drive for their frontline warriors.
On 10th February 2021, Etihad Airways, the second flag carrier of the United Arab Emirates announced that it has become the first airline to have 100% of the operational crew vaccinated.
— Etihad Airways (@etihad) February 10, 2021
Tony Douglas, Group Chief Executive Officer, Etihad Aviation Group, said:
“We proactively made the vaccine available to all our employees to not only help combat the effects of COVID-19 but to make travelers feel confident and reassured the next time they fly with us. We are the only airline in the world to make COVID-19 testing mandatory for every passenger and crew member before every flight and now, we’re the first airline in the world with 100 percent vaccinated crew on board. I chose very early on to be vaccinated to demonstrate my own support of the national vaccination programme and to encourage everyone at Etihad who was eligible for the vaccine, to receive it as soon as possible. I would like to thank the entire Etihad family for everything they have done to help us reach this milestone – I am truly humbled.” (Source: Etihad Airways)
Even though Etihad Airways is the first to have a fully vaccinated crew, other airlines like Emirates and Singapore Airlines are heard to be having thoughts of vaccinating their entire staff.
Apart from having a fully vaccinated crew, Etihad Airways has been awarded the Diamond status in the inaugural ‘APEX Health Safety, powered by SimpliFlying’ audit, for efforts in ensuring the highest standards of cleanliness and sanitization.
Started in January, the vaccination initiative ‘Protected Together‘ has played a major role in reaching this goal. The initiative was about helping the staff to take safety measures towards protecting themselves and their loved ones from the threat of COVID-19.
Working actively with UAE’s health authorities Etihad Airways has managed to obtain front line staff access to vaccines. This has led to converting Etihad’s medical centre into a proper vaccination centre.
The UAE government targets to vaccinate half of the UAE population by the end of March 2021. Etihad Airways is already ahead of schedule with over 75% of its entire workforce having received at least one dose of the Chinese manufactured Sinopharm vaccine.
From considering extra legroom to vaccinated crew on-board, COVID-19 has truly changed our travel expectations. With the reassurance of Etihad Airways taking extra precautions, the airline promises to make the experience pleasant and positive for its passengers. Etihad Airways surely has positioned themselves on the top with a 100% vaccinated crew. Hopefully rest of the airlines will come up with something that ensures the safety of their employees as well as the extra faith of their flyers.