Air New Zealand Has Announced it Will Require All Passengers to Be Fully Vaccinated, when flying Air New Zealand on international routes to or from New Zealand, starting February 1, 2022. The mandate applies to all passengers age eighteen and older. Anyone who is unable to be vaccinated due to a medical condition will need to provide proof. With the announcement, Air New Zealand is the first major airline to officially mandate vaccines for passengers, and not just employees (see Airlines with Fully Vaccinated Flight Crews).
Air New Zealand's policy was expected, and is similar to Australian airline Qantas, which announced nearly a year ago that Qantas will require all passengers to be vaccinated. Qantas expects to restart its international flights late November or December 2021. Air Canada is also expected to mandate full vaccination for all passengers, in light of Canada's Vaccine Mandate for All Air Travel and Cruise Passengers.
Air New Zealand CEO Greg Foran noted that “Mandating vaccination on our international flights will give both customers and employees the peace of mind that everyone onboard meets the same health requirements.”
Air New Zealand will join other airlines, including Emirates, in using the IATA Travel Pass Digital Vaccination Passport to verify vaccination status.
When Will New Zealand Reopen to Americans?
New Zealand hasn't announced a precise date for reopening to foreign visitors, but New Zealand plans to reopen to fully vaccinated travelers from low risk countries starting in early 2022. Sadly the U.S. isn't low risk, so we don't expect the U.S. to be included in the initial group of countries. In all likelihood, Americans won't be able to visit New Zealand until summer or fall 2022, and even fully vaccinated travelers may need to self-isolate or initially stay in a quarantine hotel, then test negative before being permitted to travel around New Zealand.
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