MIAMI – Air Canada (AC), along with subsidiaries Air Canada Rouge (RV) and AC Vacations, is making COVID-19 vaccination mandatory both for present employees and new hires.

The carrier follows US carriers Delta (DL), United Airlines (UA), Hawaiian Airlines (HA), and Frontier Airlines (F9) but also Australia’s Qantas (QF) in adopting new health and safety policy meant to offer protection to employees and customers mandating that “all staff members of the airlines be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.” The vaccination certificate or status has to be reported within a deadline set for October 30.

The health measure adds up to those already applied to passengers and including pre-boarding body temperature screening, compulsory use of face masks during flights, or the requirement of Covid-19 testing. The inclusion of all employees completes the panel of health measures meant to ensure safety for all concerned.

Air Canada Rouge Airbus 319-100 C-GBHY. Photo: Daniel Gorun/Airways

Vaccinations Not Mere Testing

Air Canada has made clear that testing will not be accepted as an alternative to vaccination while the carrier will examine all valid reasons, such as medical conditions. Those not being vaccinated within the established deadline will face consequences that may go from unpaid leave or job termination unless it is part of an exception category.

The decision taken by AC is in line with Canadian Government directives requiring employees of federally regulated transportation, including air, rail, and maritime, to be fully vaccinated within October 30. AC also considers that these measures are paramount to a safe restart of free and unhindered air travel, an essential part of Canadian economic activity.

Air France Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner F-HRBF. Photo: Alberto Cucini/Airways

France Follows Suit

In a similar development, the French government has recently promulgated a law that stipulates that all premises requiring a Covid vaccination certificate to gain access must also make vaccination mandatory for all employees. The norm includes air travel, rail, long-distance bus services, restaurants, museums, and all places staging indoor cultural events.

For the time being, in France testing is accepted as an alternative but COVID-19 tests, presently performed free of charge, will become payable from October 1, a measure meant to speed up vaccinations.

Featured image: Air Canada Airbus 330-300 C-GKUH. Photo: Andrew Henderson/Airways