Singapore Airlines, Malaysia Airlines require COVID-19 vaccines for crew

FILE PHOTO: Cabin crew speak to participants during a tour of the Singapore Airlines Training Centre in Singapore November 21, 2020, as part of a series of initiatives to re-engage customers who have not been able to travel due to the coronavirus. REUTERS/Edgar Su/File Photo

SINGAPORE/KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) – Singapore Airlines Ltd and Malaysia Airlines said they had mandated COVID-19 vaccinations for pilots and cabin crew, joining a growing number of airlines around the world making it an employment requirement.

Singapore Airlines said that 99% of active pilots and cabin crew had been vaccinated ahead of a Sept. 1 deadline, as well as all frontline ground staff. Malaysia Airlines said that all active pilots and cabin crew had received vaccines as had 95% of Malaysia-based employees under a policy set in July.

“Vaccinations further enhance the protection for them and everyone around them, on top of the stringent measures that have been put in place to minimise their risk of exposure to the Covid-19 virus at work,” Singapore Airlines said in a statement.

In Asia, Qantas Airways Ltd on Wednesday said all employees must be vaccinated or risk losing their jobs, while Hong Kong’s Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd has mandated it for pilots and cabin crew.

International travel in the Asia-Pacific region is down about 95% from pre-pandemic levels because of strict border controls, and airlines are hopeful that rising vaccination rates will aid in reopenings.

United Airlines Inc this month became the first U.S. airline to require COVID-19 vaccinations for all domestic employees, a move that was followed by Hawaiian Airlines.

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