Etihad Airways’ entire onboard workforce of pilots and cabin crew have received Covid-19 vaccinations, the first carrier in the world to reach that milestone, the carrier claims.
Etihad last year began working with United Arab Emirates health authorities to secure places for its employees in Abu Dhabi’s vaccination program, according to the carrier. More than 75 percent of Etihad’s total workforce has received at least one dose of the vaccine, which the carrier said is “ahead of schedule.” The carrier has been offering in-house vaccination appointments to employees and their families since December, according to Etihad VP of medical services and corporate social responsibility Nadia Bastaki.
The UAE government aims to vaccinate half of its population by the end of March, and the country currently has one of the highest Covid-19 vaccination rates in the world.
“We proactively made the vaccine available to all our employees to not only help combat the effects of Covid-19 but to make travelers feel confident and reassured the next time they fly with us,” Etihad Aviation Group CEO Tony Douglas said in a statement. “We are the only airline in the world to make Covid-19 testing mandatory for every passenger and crew member before every flight and now, we’re the first airline in the world with 100 percent vaccinated crew on board.”
Other carriers around the world are continuing to work on their own vaccination plans and grappling with whether to make it mandatory for their employees. United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby in recent weeks has said he would like to see it mandatory for his workforce—at least all of those in public-facing roles—though that would require other companies to enact similar policies.
“I’m realistic enough, while I think it’s the right thing to do, to know United Airlines alone can’t do it and have it stick,” Kirby said in remarks to the Economic Club of Chicago earlier this month, as reported by the Chicago Tribune. “There don’t have to be a ton of others, but there have to be others.”