(Reuters) – Air New Zealand, the flag carrier airline of New Zealand, said on Sunday it will require passengers on its international flights to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, in what is one of the world’s strictest policies for travellers.
“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,” Air New Zealand’s Chief Executive Officer Greg Foran said in a statement.
New Zealand plans to reopen its international borders, which have been closed since March 2020 to anyone who is not a New Zealand citizen, early next year. Air New Zealand will implement the vaccination policy from Feb. 1, the airline said.
“As with anything, there will be some that disagree,” Foran said. “However, we know this is the right thing to do to protect our people, our customers and the wider New Zealand community.”
In September, Qantas, Australia’s largest airline, also said it will require that all passengers on international flights to be vaccinated, becoming one of the first airlines in the world to require proof of inoculation for everyone on board.
(Reporting and writing in Melbourne by Lidia Kelly; Editing by Sandra Maler)