As the world waits for an effective COVID-19 vaccine, Qantas announced this week that it intends to require proof of vaccination for international travelers once the vaccine becomes widely available. “Whether you need that domestically, we will have to see what happens with COVID-19 in the market. But certainly, for international visitors coming out and people leaving the country, we think that’s a necessity,” Qantas CEO Allan Joyce said. Expecting that a widely available, effective vaccination will change travel requirements globally, Joyce added, “I think it will be a common theme, talking to my colleagues in other airlines across the world.”
Airlines have struggled to bring travelers back into the air while there is widespread concern about contracting the disease in the airport or the aircraft itself, and travel destinations have further complicated matters with mandatory quarantine periods for incoming travelers.
Hawaii was hard hit early in the pandemic, pushing Hawaiian Airlines to partner with local labs that would provide COVID-19 tests; passengers who tested negative within 72 hours of the flight were not required to quarantine once arriving in Hawaii. This week, Hawaiian began “offering drive-through and walk-up COVID-19 pre-flight tests for its guests traveling to the islands from Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Portland and Seattle. Guests who test within 72 hours of their flight and receive a negative result prior to departure will be exempt from the state of Hawaii quarantine.” Prices range from $90 for a 36-hour turnaround to $165 for 24-hour results.