Etihad Becomes First Airline To Vaccinate All Pilots & Cabin Crew

Filed Under: Etihad

Etihad Airways has become the first major airline in the world to vaccinate all of its “operating” pilots and flight attendants, which is a pretty awesome achievement (EL AL, meanwhile, has become the first airline to vaccinate all customer-facing employees).

As Etihad describes it, this helps curb the spread of COVID-19, and gives passengers peace of mind. Etihad also claims to be the only airline in the world to require all passengers and crew to be tested before every flight.

Etihad employees started getting vaccinated in December 2020 under the UAE’s Emergency Use Program, and Etihad was one of the first employers in Abu Dhabi to secure vaccinations for frontline staff. Etihad Airways’ Medical Centre also became an accredited COVID-19 vaccination clinic, making the process easy. Not only are Etihad employees getting vaccinated, but also their families.

While all pilots and flight attendants operating flights have already been vaccinated, other employee groups, like airport agents, ramp workers, etc., are still in the process of being vaccinated. Interestingly Etihad isn’t mandating vaccinations for employees, but has stated that employees who choose not to get vaccinated won’t be entitled to sick leave or health insurance benefits through the company, should they get coronavirus.

As it stands, 75% of Etihad’s entire workforce has received at least one dose of the vaccine, and that number is expected to continue to grow. This is part of the UAE’s goal to vaccinate half of the UAE population by the end of March 2021.

As Tony Douglas, Etihad Group CEO, describes this development:

“We proactively made the vaccine available to all our employees to not only help combat the effects of COVID-19 but to make travellers feel confident and reassured the next time they fly with us. We are the only airline in the world to make COVID-19 testing mandatory for every passenger and crew member before every flight and now, we’re the first airline in the world with 100% vaccinated crew on board.”

Bottom line

How cool to see that all operating Etihad pilots and flight attendants have now been vaccinated. It’s exciting to see the progress being made on the vaccine front. The UAE has the benefit of being well off and having a small population, so rolling out widespread vaccinations quickly is easier than in some other countries.

All of this gives me a lot of hope for the future. Here’s to hoping that vaccine distribution only continues to speed up around the world, and that life can eventually return to (a new?) normal.

  1. Did they mandate vaccinations for their workforce?
    If not, how where they able to vaccinatate all operating pilots and flight attendants?

    I cannot understand why so many people want mandatory vaccinations or mask mandates. Just leave it to every individual what precautions he or she deems necesseary.

  2. @Max – the vaccines were not mandated, but staff were told that those who choose to not vaccinate and subsequently contract COVID-19 would not be entitled to claim sick leave or health insurance benefits through the employer.

    @Joey – they used the Sinopharm vaccine.

  3. “I cannot understand why so many people want mandatory vaccinations or mask mandates. Just leave it to every individual what precautions he or she deems necesseary.”

    Very simple. People don’t like being free and responsible for themselves. They like being told what to do. There is a vlogger I watch from Paris. Great content and he rarely gets political, but in discussing the French lockdowns, he made a comment on one episode, WTTE, it would be easier if they would just tell them what they could and could not do rather than leaving it vague. Sorry, but I do not need government to tell me what to do. I am more than capable of making those decisions on my own. And, yes, that does include wearing a mask when I go in stores, both to protect others as well as marginal protection for myself. But I vehemently oppose being told I have to, especially when I am out walking the dog away from anyone. The simple reality is most people are sheep. Funny that @David said they could “withdraw” from society when it is the “mandate everything crowd” that more often than others leaves the impression that they think you will drop dead from COVID if so much as step outside your front door not covered in PPE from head to toe. To each there own, but I won’t be cowering at home. But I will think and be smart and CHOOSE to wear a mask when I go out around others in indoor spaces.

  4. @Max and Derek Here is the inherent flaw with all anti-maskers. Let’s say I buy the government shouldn’t tell you to wear a mask. This is using the US as an example. If you want to fly on a corporations aircraft or enter a private store they absolutely have the right to tell you to wear a mask. Why do you anti maskers think they don’t? You are in their space not a public one. People have the right to defend their space and customers in the way they see fit. It’s amazing to me how many people scream it’s my right to not wear a mask in a store. No respect for the rights of the business or others.

  5. Well considering they fired so many staff it’s probably not too hard to force the few remaining to be vaccinated with a chinese vaccine that has no record or reliable data available at all. Sad times when one has not even really a free choice between vaccine and their own immune system.

  6. @Charles S …the issue is that people like Max and Dj think that their ONLY responsibility is to themselves, that everything is always and exclusively about infringement on or ability to exercise THEIR personal rights, and that the effect on other people should not factor into any decisions they make. It’s a world in which society has a responsibility to THEM, but not the other way around.

  7. @NK3 is correct in pointing out that public information is lacking on the Sinopharm vaccine. The Phase 3 results have not yet been published and not peer-reviewed.
    Not very rigorous trials have been carried out in 3rd world countries with carefree human rights attitudes, who have approved emergency mass vaccination programs using this unproved vaccine (including the UAE it seems).
    Is has been suggested by its manufacturer that it has an efficacy of 79% to 86%, (pre new variants) which is superior to the AstraZeneca vaccine, which despite the hype is looking pretty meh by the day. While the WHO is saying that any vaccine is better than none I would be very unenthusiastic about receiving either of these two vaccines.

  8. @glenn t you’re absolutely right. It may be that the Sinopharm vaccine is a great end effective vaccine. But without trials that observe effectiveness in a diverse group of people, it’s hard to tell. And correct that the results have not been peer reviewed or published anywhere other than in news reports whose source is the manufacturer, so doubly hard to trust the efficacy. Science by press release is not a particularly good way to instill confidence in something as important as a vaccine.

  9. I am just wondering if Abu Dhabi will eliminate its quarantine requirements anytime soon, at least for those who have been vaccinated? Abu Dhabi has much stricter requirements than the rest of the U.A.E.

  10. Looking positive and believe supposed to start in April.. Been stranded in Thailand since March so looking forward to travelling again….Hope my Gold card still valid..Etihad Airways and Emirates became the first airlines in the world to partner with the IATA Travel Pass, a mobile app that will generate QR codes to share relevant information with authorities. Authorized labs and test centers will also be able to securely send medical information directly to passengers.

  11. “I cannot understand why so many people want mandatory vaccinations or mask mandates. Just leave it to every individual what precautions he or she deems necesseary.” [sic]

    I cannot understand why it’s mandatory to have rubber insulation for electrical wires. Just leave it to every individual what precautions he or she deems necessary.

    I cannot understand why it’s mandatory to wear seatbelts when driving. Just leave it to every individual what precautions he or she deems necessary.

    I cannot understand why it’s mandatory to pay taxes for a fire station. Just leave it to every individual what precautions he or she deems necessary.

  12. Oh it’s really easy to get the whole workforce to vaccinate when you enforce weekly testing that is deducted from employee salary for something YOU mandated cost 85 aed per week. Also all cabin crew were quarantined in their homes unless they took the vaccine, not forcing you but strongly twisting your arm….yes so congrats on the arab negotiation style….we aren’t forcing you but we sure will make it hard for you to refuse

Leave a Reply

If you'd like to participate in the discussion, please adhere to our commenting guidelines. Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Reminder: OMAAT comments are changing soon. Register here to save your space.