Hawaiian has become the latest airline to announce that all of its employees must be fully vaccinated. All US-based staff must receive their final dose by November 1st, with only a few exceptions. The decision comes days after United and Frontier both announced similar mandates for their own employees.
According to CNBC, Hawaiian Airlines has become the latest airline to issue a vaccine mandate for its employees. On Monday, CEO Peter Ingram wrote a memo announcing that all US-based Hawaiian employees will need to be fully vaccinated by November 1st. This means staff must receive their second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, or the single-dose J&J vaccine, by this date to qualify.
The airline is offering exemptions to those with medical or religious exemptions to taking the COVID-19 vaccine. It’s unclear what rules the unvaccinated employees will need to follow, but routine testing will likely be the norm. However, almost all of the over 7,000 staff will need to get the vaccine soon.
CEO Peter Ingram emphasized that the decision about the vaccine requirement wasn’t easy and took deliberate consultations, saying,
“It is not a decision I take lightly, and I would acknowledge that my own thinking on this has evolved over the last few months as I have watched this pandemic continue to take its terrible toll.”
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Hawaiian Airlines joins United and Frontier Airlines as the third airline to issue a vaccine mandate for its employees. The decision also comes as the US sees its cases surge due to the Delta variant. New daily cases have exceeded 100,000 for the first time since February, raising fears of impact on the resurgent domestic travel.
To protect their employees and passengers, airlines have opted to enforce vaccination mandates in recent days. Frontier CEO Barry Biffle said in an earnings call last week,
“As we continue to watch the rapid increase of new COVID-19 cases across the United States caused by the Delta variant, I am concerned for the well-being of our team members, their families and friends…The time has come to do what we can to help put an end to COVID-19.”
However, not every airline has taken the same tack. Just last week, American Airlines CEO Doug Parker said that his airline will not require vaccination for its employees and is instead offering incentives to push staffers to get the shot. Delta Air Lines has also not announced an employee-wide vaccine mandate and currently only requires new hires to be vaccinated.
As companies around the US decide whether to require the shot, airlines are at the frontline due to the potential impact of higher cases. As of today, 50% of the US population is fully vaccinated, while almost 60% have gotten one dose. For airlines to continue their dream summer, more shots will be critical.
What do you think about more airlines mandating COVID-19 vaccines for their staff? Would you prefer airlines with a fully vaccinated workforce? Let us know in the comments!