Qatar Airways has proudly shared that all of its active cabin crew members have been vaccinated against COVID-19. The airline’s chief officer of customer experience, Rossen Dimitrov, spoke with Simple Flying this week about his carrier’s initiatives amid the challenges of the pandemic.
The flag carrier of Qatar has its own medical team and it has been in close communication with global institutions such as the WHO to ensure that the airline is following the right guidance amid the ever-changing conditions. Even though travel is opening up, airlines still need to be cautious about any relaxation in regard to their health and safety initiatives.
For Dimitrov, there is no sign of dropping measures such as the wearing of masks and increased cleaning procedures. He doesn’t see them going away any time soon as they’re becoming the norm with flight operations. So, he feels that they are here to stay for the foreseeable future.
Part of the plan
These health measures form part of the airline’s wider strategy to ensure that passengers can connect across the globe safely. This approach includes Qatar Airways’ robust vaccination program. Apart from a few anomalies such as those not currently in the air due to medical reasons, all of the airline’s flight attendants are vaccinated.
“The new hygiene standards that have been introduced or enhanced across the industry will stay. I think they will get a little better perhaps of how we manage those and make things executed better in a timely manner and perhaps enhance our processes when it comes to services,” Dimitrov told Simple Flying.
“I’m also very happy to say that 100% of our operating cabin crew are fully vaccinated, but at the same time, that doesn’t mean that we need to drop our guard. We always have to be on guard. At the end of the day, we need to take care of our people and look after the well-being of our customers while they’re traveling with us.”
The progress continues
Qatar Airways’ vaccination progress was marked with a landmark moment this spring when it performed the world’s first fully COVID-19 vaccinated flight. The operation took place over the skies of Doha on April 6th and everyone physically involved had been vaccinated.
Following this event, it was revealed that at least 95% of the airline’s entire workforce was fully vaccinated by the end of May. Notably, over 1,000 people have been receiving vaccinations in Qatar Airways’ own clinics each day.
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Vaccinations will continue to play a major role in the future of commercial aviation operations. Just today, it was confirmed that United Airlines will require all US-based employees to get vaccinated. It’s not only airline staff that is dealing with these aspects. There are even some strict passenger measures. For instance, this week, it was announced that Saudi Arabia will ban citizens from foreign travel if they are unvaccinated. Meanwhile, on a slightly more lenient level, the UK has been allowing more passengers to skip quarantine requirements if they are fully inoculated.
Altogether, just as how Dimitrov notes that general antivirus measures are here to stay in regard to the cabin, vaccination requirements are likely to be around in the long run. If airlines want to keep the industry running following such a significant period of downturn, then they will be wanting to ensure all angles are covered.
What are your thoughts about Qatar Airways’ efforts when it comes to crew vaccinations? What do you make of the airline’s efforts amid the pandemic over the last year and a half? Let us know what you think of the overall situation in the comment section.