Wizz Air makes vaccination compulsory for all in-flight staff

Budget airline is one of the first European carriers to make the move

Lucy Thackray
Wednesday 01 September 2021 15:22 BST
<p>Wizz Air is one of the first European carriers to announce a policy of mandatory vaccination </p>

Wizz Air is one of the first European carriers to announce a policy of mandatory vaccination

Wizz Air has announced it is making Covid vaccinations compulsory for all flight and cabin staff by this winter.

The low-cost airline, which flies from 10 UK airports, has given “all flight crew, cabin crew and office staff” a deadline of 1 December 2021 by which to be double jabbed.

In a statement released today, Wizz Air said that “regular antigen/PCR testing” would be allowed “in special cases”, but by and large all of its customer facing staff would be fully vaccinated by the December date.

“At Wizz Air, our number one priority is the health and safety of our passengers and employees,” said József Váradi, CEO of Wizz Air Group.

“We have a responsibility to protect crew and passengers on board by mitigating the risks of COVID-19, and vaccines play a vital role in this.”

It is one of the first European airlines to adopt such a policy.

Wizz follows Australia’s Qantas and Virgin Australia airlines in the move, as well as United Airlines in the US.

Other airlines have been subtler in their policies: in June, Cathay Pacific told employees their roles would be under “review” if they refused to get vaccinated by the end of August, while Emirates is encouraging its staff to get the free vaccine or risk paying for their own regular testing.

In May, US carrier Delta announced that all new employees would have to be fully vaccinated, and that it would begin charging unvaccinated staff a health insurance fee of $200 a month from November.

But UK bosses have been slow to commit to a vaccine mandate for employees, with both Shai Weiss of Virgin Atlantic and Steve Heapy of Jet2 saying earlier this year that vaccination would likely remain optional for their teams.

Speaking at an Airlines UK event in February, Weiss said: “My personal view is that the individual’s right to govern their own body is essential.

“We will do everything we can to promote [vaccination], and explain the merits of being vaccinated for yourself and for your loved ones and for society as a whole.

“But before we take that extra step and say ‘If you don’t have a jab you don’t have a job,’ I think that’s a step too far.”

Steve Heapy, chief executive of Jet2, said: “I agree, and I think that may be subject to a number of legal challenges as well.”

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