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Singapore Airlines Becomes Second Airline to Operate Flights With Fully Vaccinated Crew

Singapore Airlines Becomes Second Airline to Operate Flights With Fully Vaccinated Crew

Singapore Airlines announced on Thursday that it will become the second airline in the world to only operate flights with fully vaccinated cabin crew and pilots. The airline was beaten to the title of world’s first by rival Etihad Airways which announced just a day earlier that all of its operating flight crew had now been inoculated against the COVID-19 virus.

Goh Choon Phong, Singapore Airlines chief executive had implored staff to take up the offer of a jab in a bid to make the airline the first fully vaccinated airline in the world. Over 52,000 frontline transport workers have received at least their first dose of the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine as part of Singapore’s effort to protect its borders from COVID-19 importation.

“We are very encouraged by the strong take-up rate for the vaccine from our colleagues,” commented Phong on Thursday. “Vaccinations will be key to the reopening of borders and to enhancing travel confidence, in tandem with robust testing regimes and the wide-ranging safe management measures that are in place on the ground and in the air,” he continued.

“They offer greater protection for our people and provide an added layer of assurance to our customers.”

The first fully vaccinated flight with a total of 12 crew onboard was Singapore Airlines flight SQ956 to Jakarta which landed at just before 10 am local time on Thursday. Speaking to the crew before departure, Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung said the mass vaccination programme was “proceeding like clockwork”.

A vaccination centre, which is currently capable of inoculating up to 4,000 people a day has been set up at Singapore Changi Airport. The health ministry plans to increase capacity in the near future.

All airlines within the Singapore Airlines Group (SIA) will be staffed with fully vaccinated staff including low-cost operator Scoot and Silk Air. The first flights were Scoot service TR606 to Bangkok and Silk Air flight MI608 for Phnom Penh.

The achievement, however, comes just two days after it emerged that a Singapore Airlines flight attendant had tested positive for COVID-19 just days after operating a turnaround flight to the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Health officials believe the 41-year-old crew member may have been infected during the return flight after four passengers also tested positive for the novel Coronavirus.

The flight attendant had flown out to Dubai on January 30 and returned to Singapore on January 31 without ever stepping foot off the aircraft. She then received the first dose of the vaccine of February 2.

“As the vaccine does not contain live virus, she could not have been infected due to vaccination,” a spokesperson for the Ministry of Health explained. It can take at least two to three weeks to build up immunity after receiving the jab.

A couple of days later, the flight attendant lost her sense of taste and smell but did not seek medical attention. Only after routine testing did she then test positive for COVID-19.

Etihad Airways said on Wednesday that it would only operate flights with pilots and cabin crew who are fully inoculated against COVID-19. The Abu Dhabi-based airline has been using the Chinese manufactured Sinopharm vaccine for its vaccination programme.

The airline said that at least 75 per cent of its wider workforce had already received at least one dose of the vaccine.

Emirates in neighbouring Dubai has also launched a mass vaccination programme for its employees. The airline is expected to become the third fully vaccinated in the coming weeks.

View Comments (3)
  • According to Mainly Miles SQ is not operating all flights only with vaccinated crew. Only these 3 flights today. So it’s more of a PR stunt because of Etihad I think!

  • This is a violation of HIPPA! Vaccination is private and personal health information that should not be used for such propaganda!

  • My heart bleeds so sad yet with so much admiration for the staff of aviation and all else, who risk their lives, to make flights possible, for us in these trying times ..

    However i have so much hatred & anger towards the airlines owners & management for forcing its staff to get vaccinations on the pretext of safety when it is all about their revenues only !

    Nobody should be made to be injected with anything especially when the vaccine research are in infantile stages and new COVVID variations & mutations are on the prowl ! This is intent to murder on the excuse of safelty & profit !!

    If you must travel in these infectious times. Then it is a risk passengers must understand. And the burden of risk cannot be put on the shoulders and minds of volunteering airline staff !

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