EL AL Becomes First Airline To Vaccinate All Customer-Facing Employees

EL AL Becomes First Airline To Vaccinate All Customer-Facing Employees

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A couple of days ago Etihad Airways made headlines for vaccinating all pilots and flight attendants. Well, it seems that one airline has one-upped the Abu Dhabi-based airline, at least for now.

EL AL vaccinates all customer-facing employees

Israel Hayom reports that EL AL has become the first airline in the world to vaccinate all customer-facing employees. In other words, this doesn’t just include pilots and flight attendants, but also includes ground staff, security personnel, and anyone else who comes into contact with customers.

Now, I can’t help but wonder if that’s technically true. In other words, have gate agents outside of Israel consistently been vaccinated? I would guess not, but who knows. I suppose some work for contract companies, but that’s not really a distinction customers should have to worry about.

As a point of comparison, Arkia Israeli Airlines has allegedly vaccinated around 70% of its employees, while Israir has vaccinated about 95% of its pilots.

It’s not surprising to see Israeli airlines leading the way in this regard, given that Israel is leading the world when it comes to per-capita vaccinations. For context (and keep in mind each person needs two vaccines):

  • Israel is leading by a long-shot, as the country has seen 71 vaccinations per 100 people
  • The United Arab Emirates is in second place, with 48 vaccinations per 100 people
  • Meanwhile in the US we’ve seen 14 vaccinations per 100 people

Etihad was the first airline to vaccinate all pilots & flight attendants

This is largely moot for the time being

While it’s an incredible accomplishment that EL AL has vaccinated all of its customer-facing employees, the reality is that it’s not particularly significant for the time being, given that Israel’s borders are more-or-less closed, due to the new strains of coronavirus.

The airline is operating a very limited number of cargo and repatriation flights, but that’s it. So yeah, EL AL has outdone Etihad in terms of vaccinating all employees, but perhaps the practical implications of Etihad’s vaccinations are more significant given that the airline is operating a lot more flights.

EL AL’s fleet is largely grounded right now

Bottom line

EL AL has become the first major airline in the world to vaccinate all customer-facing employees.

With Israel leading the way when it comes to vaccinating people, I’ll be curious to see what kind of a stance the country takes when virtually everyone in the country is vaccinated. Will the country open up to just about everyone at that point, will it open up only to vaccinated travelers, and/or will it open up to those who have been tested pre-travel?

The precedent that sets will be worth keeping an eye on…

(Tip of the hat to @azironen)

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  1. george

    Hi Sharon
    When you arrive to Tel Aviv after that 11 hour flight on El Al from Miami if you want THE best falafel head to gabai at 25 bograshov just east of Ben Yehuda!

  2. Gerard

    On trusting vaccines not developed in the West, here’s an interesting OP-ED: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/02/05/opinion/covid-vaccines-china-russia.html

  3. Stuart

    Maybe this reduces the fear of flying but the fear of travel remains with staff at airports not being vaccinated and travel rules/quarantines/tests etc.

  4. Terence McManus

    Could be that SputniK V.could be in the running as first choice for world airlines assuming a level playing field...Custom build for the industry...

  5. Pedro

    Weird race to be "the first to vaccinate..." and hope for some media coverage.
    What's next?:
    "Farting Airline" is the first to vaccinate all cabin crew bus drivers?

  6. Sharon

    We don’t have all the data that Eithiad is using, it’s the Sinopharm vaccine.

    Israel has only been using Pfizer and Moderna vaccine’s which have been peer reviewed and verified.

    So we can fully say el al employees have immunity. We can not verify that fully for Eithiad.

    Either way. Israel and UAE will be two great long haul destinations with faster than most to recover.

  7. NK3

    Israel has been using the Pfizer vaccine, which has been transparent about their data, and is fairly highly regarded. UAE has been using Sinopharm, which has shown little public data, and does not have the same level of trust as Pfizer. So in my mind, El Al>>Etihad.

  8. Icarus

    I’m aware of another major who are currently in talks with the health ministry to vaccinate all their crew

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george

Hi Sharon When you arrive to Tel Aviv after that 11 hour flight on El Al from Miami if you want THE best falafel head to gabai at 25 bograshov just east of Ben Yehuda!

Gerard

On trusting vaccines not developed in the West, here’s an interesting OP-ED: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/02/05/opinion/covid-vaccines-china-russia.html

Stuart

Maybe this reduces the fear of flying but the fear of travel remains with staff at airports not being vaccinated and travel rules/quarantines/tests etc.

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