Porter Airlines Adds Employee Vaccination Or Testing Requirements

Canadian regional carrier Porter Airlines has announced that it will be introducing its own COVID-19 Vaccination Policy for its employees. Made public on August 18th, the company’s new policy will require workers to be fully vaccinated or present a negative COVID-19 test result taken within 72 hours before starting a shift.

After a long year and a half of inactivity, Porter Airlines plans to resume flights on September 8th. Photo: Porter Airlines

Vaccinate or get tested

With Porter Airlines’ intention to resume flights on September 8th, the airline will require that its team members be fully vaccinated or present a negative COVID-19 test result, which must be administered within 72 hours of the start of their shift.

“We have a responsibility to ensure a safe workplace. With vaccines readily available for everyone in Canada and the U.S., and their proven effectiveness, requiring vaccination or regular testing is a critical measure to protect the health of our team members,” – Michael Deluce, President and CEO, Porter Airlines

Deluce notes that the airline will provide a testing option to ensure that personal circumstances are accommodated.

Porter’s announcement is the first of its kind in Canada. It will potentially beat the implementation of a policy established by the Canadian federal government, which recently announced its intention to mandate vaccination for federally regulated employers and workers. This would include the air travel sector.

NPR notes that the government mandate will be enacted “as soon as possible in the fall and no later than the end of October.” For its part, Porter says that once specific requirements from the government are known, its policy “may evolve.”

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Joining other airlines around the world

The new policy from Porter follows similar moves from other airlines around the world. Here are a few examples that Simple Flying has reported on thus far:

  • Cathay Pacific: The airline announced on August 20th that all airline staff and contractors working at Hong Kong International Airport would need to be fully vaccinated from October 1st.
  • United Airlines: This airline will require all of its employees to vaccinate against COVID-19 no later than October 25th.
  • Frontier Airlines: On August 6th, Frontier announced it would institute an employee vaccination requirement starting on October 1st. This came just days after CEO Barry Biffle expressed frustration over the lingering impact of the pandemic and variants on the airline’s second-quarter earnings call.
  • Hawaiian Airlines: All US-based staff are required to receive their final dose by November 1st, with only a few exceptions.

Interestingly, we reported on August 9th that American Airlines is not planning to mandate vaccination for its employees.

United Airlines was the first US carrier to announce a requirement for employees to be vaccinated. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

A Porter statement notes that the airline industry has been critically impacted by the pandemic, with travel restrictions only recently been modified after more than a year, based largely on vaccination rates. It notes that “the effectiveness of vaccines is shown to be consistently at 95% or greater in reducing severe illness and death. They are also highly effective in protecting against infection.”

Do you think it’s only a matter of time before most airlines implement similar policies? Let us know what you think in the comments.