Regional Express (Rex) will be the first Australian airline to have fully immunized frontline employees against COVID19. Rex announced that employees working at check-ins, pilots, and cabin crew members will have to complete their COVID19 vaccination.
According to deputy chairman John Sharp, around 90% of their employees are already vaccinated ahead of the deadline. Sharp calls it an “extraordinary response” and “well above the national average”.
According to Sharp, Rex’s vaccine mandate was done to protect both staff and passengers. He also added that “Our staff in any single working day can be mixing very closely with hundreds and hundreds of people, traveling around various cities and states”.
What Happens to Rex’s Unvaccinated Staff?
Impressively, only around 30 of the 1,500 Rex’s staff opposed vaccination. These unvaccinated workers will be filling in other positions that won’t require contact with customers. Sharp said that “There are a few of our staff who I think have quite valid concerns with medical histories that we have to work with”. So far, Sharp announced that Rex is determined to “keep them in a job”.
Qantas and Virgin Pushing a Vaccination Policy
In August, Qantas announced that vaccination is mandatory for its 22,000 workers. The airline announced the vaccine mandate deadline on November 15 for frontline employees. On the other hand, Qantas’ backroom staff have until March.
Last week, Virgin Australia consulted employees and unions to finalize its vaccine policy. Virgin Australia Group chief executive Jayne Hrdlicka calls it the “right policy for the extraordinary times we live in”. She said that “We know this will be difficult for some of our people, but we have a responsibility to do our part to protect our people, the community and our way of life”.
US airlines also started requiring vaccination among their employees. United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby even said that only a handful of employees quit over their vaccine mandate. Delta, on the other hand, announced that unvaccinated employees will have to pay $200 per month for their insurance.