Mateusz Maszczynski is a serving international flight attendant with experience…
On Sunday, Emirates operated its first flight staffed only by pilots and cabin crew who have received both doses of a COVID-19 vaccine. All other frontline staff involved in making the flight happen and who could come into contact with passengers, including check-in staff, gate agents and even security officers were also fully vaccinated against the novel Coronavirus.
Emirates flight EK215 departed Dubai bound for Los Angeles at 8.30 am on Sunday, making Emirates the third global carrier to have operated a flight only with vaccinated staffers.
The airline was beaten in the defacto race by rival Etihad Airways in neighbouring Abu Dhabi which became the first airline in the world to operate all flights with vaccinated pilots and cabin crew in early February. Etihad says it has now offered at least a first dose of the vaccine to more than 75 per cent of its local workforce.
A day after Etihad’s announcement, Singapore Airlines operated three flights with fully vaccinated employees. Singapore Airlines had wanted to become the world’s first fully vaccinated airline and is now racing to get all frontline staff fully protected.
“Protecting our people with vaccinations is important – for them, for our community, for the smooth running of our operations, and also for our customers as it introduces an additional layer of protection when they travel with us,” commented Adel Al Redha, Emirates’ chief operating officer on Sunday.
“We’ve seen a very positive response with high demand and take-up of the Covid-19 vaccine from our colleagues at the operational frontline, and there’s continued momentum in the rate of vaccinations across the business,” he continued.
Emirates has been using the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine to inoculate staff but supply issues also means the airline has used the Chinese made Sinopharm vaccine and the Oxford / Astrazeneca jab. Etihad is making sole use of the Sinopharm shot, while Singapore Airlines is reliant on the Pfizer vaccine.
In the five weeks since the Emirates Group launched its mass vaccination campaign nearly 26,000 Emirates staffers based in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have now received both doses of one of the three approved vaccines, including around 5,000 pilots and cabin crew.
Vaccination centres were set up by the airline across Dubai and have been operating 12-hours a day, seven days a week ever since.
The airline did not say when it expects to complete its vaccine rollout or whether it will expect frontline staff to have received the jab in order to work. Vaccination remains voluntary but employees are being strongly encouraged to get inoculated.
Photo Credit: Emirates
Mateusz Maszczynski is a serving international flight attendant with experience at a major Middle East and European airline. Mateusz is passionate about the aviation industry and helping aspiring flight attendants achieve their dreams. Cabin crew recruitment can be tough, ultra-competitive and just a little bit confusing - Mateusz has been there and done that. He's got the low down on what really works.