In news reported around the world, our very own Qantas announced yesterday (Monday) that it will make the COVID-19 vaccine mandatory for all its passengers (once it's available, of course), becoming the first-ever airline to reveal such a policy.
While appearing on A Current Affair last night, Qantas CEO Alan Joyce was asked by host Tracy Grimshaw: "Alan, when there is a vaccine, are you going to require all of your passengers to be vaccinated before they get on a plane?"
To which he replied: "Yeah, we are looking at changing our terms and conditions to say for international travellers that we will ask people to have a vaccination before they can get on the aircraft."
He continued: "Whether you need that domestically, we'll have to see what happens with COVID-19 in the market, but certainly for international visitors coming out and people leaving the country, we think that's a necessity."
Major. But also, just because Qantas was the first to announce the rule doesn't necessarily mean it'll be the only one applying it. In the interview, Joyce said he predicted other airlines would be implementing the rule too, and to help keep track of who's been vaccinated, countries would be introducing a digital "vaccination passport".
"I'm talking to my colleagues in other airlines around the globe and I think it's going to be a common theme across the board," Joyce explained.
Separately, in an interview on Sunrise also on Monday, Joyce said he believed Australia could be open to international travellers and that Aussies would be able to travel overseas, "in the early New Year."
"We've always planned that from July next year we'll start reactivating our long haul international aircraft, and get a lot of our people back to work, and that still looks like the plan," he said.
"The news about the vaccines are very positive, which I think is great for that border opening plan."
Exciting stuff, though we won't be packing our bags until the health experts clear it. In the meantime we'll be dreaming of flying sky high and guzzling some free wine. I'm ready to paaarty.
Written by Sangeeta Kocharekar, an American-born, Sydney-based writer at MTV. Photos from her pre-COVID-19 days as a travel writer are here.