Germany’s Lufthansa said on Wednesday that it is seeking to make COVID-19 mandatory for all pilots and cabin crew confirming an earlier report about the plan in the German language newspaper Der Spiegel. The requirement would include aircrew at the mainline Lufthansa brand, as well as the regional subsidiary Lufthansa CityLine and budget offshoot Eurowings.
A spokesperson for Lufthansa said the airline would first need to negotiate with staff unions before it introduced a mandatory vaccine requirement.
For now, the plan is only to bring in a vaccine mandate for flying staff. On Tuesday, the Lufthansa-owned network airline SWISS International Airlines became the first European carrier to bring in a vaccine mandate which was also limited solely to pilots and cabin crew.
SWISS chief executive Dieter Vranckx said the airline was making the COVID-19 vaccine mandatory because an increasing number of destinations required both passengers and crew to be fully vaccinated. The airline took action after Hong Kong ordered all international aircrew to be vaccinated with immediate effect.
Lufthansa is also likely to bring in its vaccine mandate for the same reason. Austrian Airlines and Brussels Airlines are also owned by the Lufthansa Group but neither has yet indicated it will bring in its own vaccine mandate.
Over 90 per cent of staffers at Austrian Airlines are believed to be vaccinated against COVID-19. In comparison, Delta Air Lines chief executive Ed Bastian said on Wednesday that only 75 per cent of the carrier’s U.S.-based workforce was Covid vaccinated, prompting the airline to introduce a series of measures to encourage vaccine-hesitate employees to get the jab.
SWISS has ordered all its flying staff to get vaccinated by November 15 – it was able to bring in the mandate at short notice because provisions are already written into the labour agreements.
Lufthansa, however, is prohibited from collecting vaccination information due to data protection issues which much be regulated through staff unions. As a result, the airline currently has no idea how many crew are actually vaccinated against COVID-19.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.