Asian nations ‘won’t let anyone in without a vaccination,’ AirAsia CEO believes

Speaking at a CAPA Center for Aviation event on Wednesday, AirAsia CEO Tony Fernandes said that people traveling to Asian countries could be required to have received a Covid-19 vaccination before entry.

While some Asian airlines have been weighing whether to require passengers to have been vaccinated against Covid-19 before being allowed onboard, they have resisted and chosen to, instead, work closely with health authorities, ensuring safe procedures are in place.

Fernandes said that it would not be up to the aviation industry to decide, as governments would be responsible for devising the rules that people have to follow before entering their country, telling the event: “I foresee in Asia, anyway, I think they won’t let anyone in without a vaccination.”

So far, no country has ordered that people must show proof of vaccination before entering, and the World Health Organization publicly opposed such proposals on Monday. The director of the WHO’s Immunization Department, Kate O’Brien, urged governments to persuade people to have the jab, rather than making it compulsory. “It is a much better position to actually encourage and facilitate the vaccination without those kinds of requirements,” she said.

The airline industry has generally opposed moves to make Covid-19 vaccination mandatory before passengers are allowed to travel, as companies are concerned that it would further financially cripple an industry that has been hit hard by pandemic-induced travel restrictions.

However, Australia’s Qantas Airways has taken a lone step in the aviation industry and announced that passengers will be required to have been vaccinated before traveling, as they believe that the jab is needed if international travel is to resume properly.