Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce offers several rationales for Qantas’s plan to require all international passengers to be vaccinated against Covid-19, and states that the vast majority of passengers support the idea.

Joyce notes that a number of governments, including Australia, could well make a vaccine compulsory for arrivals, and that some Australian states have said they will require a vaccine and do away with quarantines altogether.

Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce - January 2021

Source: Greg Waldron/FlightGlobal

Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce in discussion with Reuters journalist Jamie Freed during the Reuters Next conference

Joyce made the remarks on 13 January in an interview during the Reuters Next virtual conference. In November 2021, Joyce stated that the airline would change its terms and conditions to require international passengers to be vaccinated before boarding its aircraft.

“The fact is that the [coronavirus] risk is clearly international travelers coming into the country,” says Joyce. “Outside of that there wouldn’t be any community transmission.”

Moreover, he re-stated his view that requiring passengers to be vaccinated will help protect Qantas crew and other passengers, and thus restore the confidence necessary for international travel.

Joyce cited Qantas customer research in which 89% of respondents support a vaccination requirement for flying, and that such a requirement would encourage them to travel internationally again.

“Our legal advice is that we can do it, and we will put it in at the appropriate time,” he says.

He adds that the carrier will make exceptions for those who have medical conditions that preclude them from being vaccinated.

Qantas’s international operations have all but entirely ceased during the pandemic. In early January, it said that it is looking to restart international flights from July.

He also adds that Qantas is in contact with logistics companies Linfox and DHL about the distribution of Covid-19 vaccines in Australia. He believes the Australian population to be fully vaccinated by the end of October.