Air New Zealand is scrapping its ‘no jab, no fly’ policy, which barred passengers who had not been vaccinated against COVID-19 from flying with the airline.
The ban will be lifted for travelers on domestic flights starting on Friday, April 15th, but the ‘no jab, no fly’ restriction will be in effect on international flights for a few weeks longer, until May 1st.
The airline will also reinstate food and beverage service on short domestic flights starting on Friday. In late December, Air New Zealand removed all food and drink services from domestic flights, giving customers no excuse to remove their face masks throughout the journey.
The prohibition was enacted while New Zealand battled a COVID-19 outbreak brought on by the Omicron variant’s release.
The highly transmissible form, on the other hand, has caused the New Zealand government to modify its stance, and the once-isolated country is now reopening to the rest of the globe.
New Zealand reopened to quarantine-free travel for Australians crossing the ditch on Wednesday, while quarantine restrictions for visa waiver countries like the United Kingdom, United States, France, and Japan will be abolished on May 2nd.
Under the reopening guidelines, most international travelers must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, but Air New Zealand’s ‘no jab, no fly’ policy went much further.
Unvaccinated New Zealand nationals, for example, are not required to be vaccinated in order to enter the country, but Air New Zealand’s policy prohibits them from boarding its aircraft.
“As Omicron took hold in the community, we put in place several temporary measures aimed at keeping our employees, customers, and New Zealand safe. After a careful risk assessment, we feel now is the right time to step back some of those measures,” said Air New Zealand chief executive Greg Foran on Thursday.
“New Zealand is moving back towards a sense of normality,” Foran continued. We’re aware that Covid is not behind us yet and we have taken a considered approach and will continue to revise safety measures depending on what we’re seeing here in New Zealand and around the world.
Despite the fact that the airline is resuming food and beverage service, domestic flights still require the use of face masks. The government does not require passengers to wear face masks on overseas flights, as it does in the United States, but Air New Zealand will maintain its own policy on international flights.
The airline is also sticking to its ‘no jab, no fly’ policy for staff who need to be completely vaccinated against COVID-19 in order to work for the company.
Although Qantas does not demand vaccinations for domestic flights, the airline does have its own ‘no jab, no fly’ policy for overseas flights.