The travel industry’s global vaccination efforts against COVID-19 has reached another important milestone: Singapore Airlines began operating its first-ever flights with fully vaccinated onboard crew.
All three airlines under the SIA Group umbrella—including Singapore, its regional carrier Silk Air, and its budget arm, Scoot—are now “among the first carriers in the world to operate flights with a full complement of vaccinated pilots and cabin crew,” according to a release from the airline.
While it’s currently only a handful of flights that are being staffed by totally vaccinated crews, more routes are soon to follow, as over 90 percent of Singapore Airlines’ cabin crew and pilots have signed up to receive their doses so far, according to the carrier.ADVERTISEMENT
“We are very encouraged by the strong take-up rate for the vaccine from our colleagues,” Singapore Airlines’ CEO Goh Choon Phong said in a statement. “Vaccinations will be key to the reopening of borders and to enhancing travel confidence, in tandem with robust testing regimes and the wide-ranging safe management measures that are in place on the ground and in the air.”
Singapore is among a handful of destinations around the globe that are prioritizing the inoculation of frontline aviation workers in larger vaccination efforts. In January, Changi Airport began a major vaccination push for air crew and airport workers with a new vaccination center in Terminal 4 that can currently inoculate up to 2,000 people at a time, with plans to scale up in the future.
Another locale getting doses to airline employees? The United Arab Emirates. Etihad Airways, based in Abu Dhabi, announced on Wednesday that all of its active cabin crew and pilots have been fully vaccinated, while Dubai-based Emirates also has a massive vaccination campaign underway for all of its employees based in the UAE.
In the U.S., a few states—such as Illinois and New York—have recently opened vaccine access to airline and airport workers, too.