Airlines are taking Covid-19 vaccinations into their own hands — led by Singapore Airlines and Emirates.
Singapore's national carrier expects to become the world's first airline to vaccinate its entire workforce against Covid-19.
Everyone from pilots, gate agents, flight attendants, baggage handlers and others whose job requires contact with the public are being offered free coronavirus vaccines by the Singaporean government.
It’s hoped to vaccinate all front-line workers in Singapore’s aviation and maritime industries within two months.
Those working for SIA subsidiary Scoot and Jetstar Asia will also be offered the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.
Singapore’s Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung said it was essential to protect front-line workers. "All our 37,000 front-liners, they're defenders of our borders because the borders are a key vulnerability," he said.
In another pilot move aimed at making Singapore a Covid-free fortress, Singapore Airlines customers will be able to book their pre-departure Covid-19 PCR and serology tests and receive their results on a one-stop online portal.
The pre-departure test service is currently available to Singapore Airlines and SilkAir passengers departing from Singapore, Jakarta and Medan. There are plans to expand this service to more cities in the SIA and SilkAir network.
Test results will come with a QR code that enables airport check-in staff and Singapore immigration authorities to verify the passenger’s health status under the new digital health verification process that SIA is piloting with IATA.
The Emirates Group is also moving quickly to provide Covid-19 vaccinations across its workforce at various company locations across the UAE. Priority is being given to cabin crew, pilots and other operational staff.
Emirates airline, along with Etihad Airways and Singapore Airlines, is also working with IATA to introduce the IATA Travel Pass mobile app.
IATA Travel Pass will initially be offered to Etihad Airways guests on selected flights from Abu Dhabi in the first quarter of 2021. If successful, the pass will be extended to other destinations on the Etihad network.
Emirates will implement the first phase of the pass in Dubai in April.
IATA Travel Pass enables passengers to create a ‘digital passport’ to verify their pre-travel test or vaccination meets the requirements of the destination. They will also be able to share the test and vaccination certificates with authorities and airlines to facilitate travel.
The new app will also enable travellers to manage all travel documentation digitally and seamlessly throughout the travel experience.