The vaccine mandate for international travelers will come into force next February.
Mirroring an announcement made by Qantas in early September, New Zealand’s flag carrier has outlined plans to introduce a new requirement for passengers, regardless of nationality, who are arriving or departing the country on its aircraft in the coming months. All those aged 18 and older must be inoculated against Covid-19 to board Air New Zealand planes; unvaccinated customers will have to show proof that they could not be given the jabs for medical reasons. The rule is set to kick in on February 1, 2022, long after the Christmas and New Year season to give travelers ample time to receive their vaccinations.
“We’re getting ready to reconnect with the world and letting customers know what they need to do to be ready to take off when we can,” says Air New Zealand’s Chief Executive Officer Greg Foran in a statement. “Being vaccinated against Covid-19 is the new reality of international travel — many of the destinations Kiwis want to visit are already closed to unvaccinated visitors. The quicker we get vaccinated, the sooner we can fly Kiwis to places like New York, Vancouver, and Narita.”
Foran added that getting jabbed would be compulsory for everyone on board an Air New Zealand aircraft traveling internationally, including pilots and cabin crew; the new requirements will “sit alongside” the health and safety measures already in place. The carrier is also continuing its work to introduce the IATA Travel Pass, which will check customers’ health information against flight details to ensure they are meeting entry requirements for that destination, and the airline. Air New Zealand is reportedly considering a similar vaccine mandate for domestic flights, but no further details have been made public.