Emirates tells cabin crew they must get vaccinated or pay for COVID-19 tests before flights

The crew of an Emirates Airlines flight from London arrive at Dubai International Airport on May 8, 2020 amid the coronavirus Covid-19 pandemic.
The crew of an Emirates Airlines flight from London arrive at Dubai International Airport on May 8, 2020 amid the coronavirus Covid-19 pandemic. KARIM SAHIB/AFP via Getty Images
  • Emirates told staff they must get vaccinated or pay for a COVID-19 test before flying, Reuters reported.
  • If cabin crew aren’t vaccinated or tested within seven days of a flight, they’ll be put on standby duty.
  • 60% of Emirates staff have had the first or second dose, or are registered to get the vaccine.

Emirates has told its cabin crew that they must get vaccinated against COVID-19 or pay for a test to prove they’re not infected before each flight.

From March 15, any crew members not vaccinated against the virus would have to submit a negative COVID-19 PCR test in the seven days before their flight, Emirates said in an internal email to employees, seen by Reuters.

If cabin crew members didn’t get vaccinated or pay for a test, they would be put on standby duty, unless they are exempt, the email said.

Those exceptions are crew members who have registered to take their first dose, are waiting for their second shot, have a valid medical reason, or have recently had COVID-19, Emirates said.

“Certain countries may in the future differentiate the entry criteria between those who have taken the vaccine and those who did not,” the airline told its crew members in the email.

“Keeping this in mind, having a vaccinated workforce has become essential not just from a health and safety angle but from an operational one too.”

So far, 60% of Emirates’ crew has either been fully or partially vaccinated against coronavirus, or is registered to get the vaccine, the email said.

Emirates didn’t immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment, but a spokesperson told Reuters the policy applied to all employees in the United Arab Emirates.

Etihad Airways announced in February that all of its crew members had received the COVID-19 vaccine – the first airline in the world to reach this milestone.

United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby said in January he wanted to make the COVID-19 vaccine mandatory for all employees, and said the airline would be among the first to impose the rule.