**Update: 10/04/21 @ 13:24 UTC, a JetBlue spokesperson provided a statement; details below**
Carriers are increasingly mandating that staff members be vaccinated amid the coronavirus pandemic. Yesterday, we reported that American Airlines announced that its employees would need to be vaccinated to work for the Texan outfit. In addition, Alaska Airlines and JetBlue have the same requirements.
The vaccine mandates come on the back of a recent government announcement, requiring federal contractors to ensure that all their employees are vaccinated. Unless exempt, these workers will need to be vaccinated by December 8th. As government contractors, these airlines are subject to the new requirements.
Long-haul travel is continuing to open up. Additionally, overseas markets are starting to ease conditions, a factor that is being matched by recent announcements of the US soon allowing travel for vaccinated passengers from previously restricted regions. Therefore, the official updates are running alongside the natural industry shifts.
Notably, following the success of JetBlue’s launch to London Heathrow, the carrier would be keen to maintain safe and smooth operations. The New York-based airline impressively expanded to London Gatwick this week.
“With a 500% increase in JetBlue’s U.K. bookings following news of easing U.S. entry requirements for international travelers, it’s clear there is significant pent up demand for travel between our two countries and that our Gatwick launch is well timed to meet the growing number of customers returning to the skies,” shared Joanna Geraghty, president and chief operating officer, JetBlue in a statement this week.
A JetBlue spokesperson also provided Simple Flying with the following statement about vaccinations:
“JetBlue has always believed in a science-based approach to emerge from this pandemic, and vaccines have proven to be a powerful tool to protect ourselves and each other from COVID-19 and its worst outcomes. We will fully comply with the federal vaccine mandate for federal contractors and we have communicated this vaccine requirement to our crewmembers.
Crew members have to adhere to the numerous new factors across different countries. Overall, the international nature of the aviation industry meant that airlines were naturally encouraging vaccinations. The government announcement has now catalyzed the approach.
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During the summer, American Airlines shared that it was not planning to mandate vaccinations for its employees. The airline expressed this as its counterparts, United Airlines and Frontier Airlines, announced that they would both make them mandatory. However, after the Biden administration’s executive order to mandate jabs for federal contractor employees, airlines such as this have had to change their stance.
There will undoubtedly be some pushback against the new requirements. While fewer than ten employees had quit United Airlines over its vaccine mandate, nearly 600 employees of the Chicago-based carrier are now at risk of losing their job. These issues are likely to transfer over to the other airlines.
What are your thoughts about US airlines increasingly mandating vaccinations? What do you make of the changing requirements of the industry? Let us know what you think of the overall situation in the comment section.