Etihad Airways has become the first airline in the world to vaccinate all of its operating pilots and cabin crew against COVID-19.
The national airline of the United Arab Emirates was awarded Diamond status for ensuring the highest standards of cleanliness and sanitisation in the inaugural ‘APEX Health Safety, powered by SimpliFlying’ audit last month.
Tony Douglas, Group Chief Executive Officer, Etihad Aviation Group, said: “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 per cent vaccinated crew on board.
“I chose very early on to be vaccinated to demonstrate my own support of the national vaccination programme and to encourage everyone at Etihad who was eligible for the vaccine, to receive it as soon as possible. I would like to thank the entire Etihad family for everything they have done to help us reach this milestone – I am truly humbled.”
Vaccination programme rolled out in collaboration with UAE health authorities
The achievement was made possible through Etihad’s ‘Protected Together’ employee vaccination initiative which was formally launched in January this year. The programme built on the UAE’s Choose to Vaccinate campaign, Protected Together and promotes a proactive, personal approach towards protection against COVID-19.
In collaboration with the UAE’s health authorities, Etihad facilitated access for its frontline staff to the UAE’s Emergency Use Programme in 2020. The airline was one of the first employers in the capital to secure places for their frontline staff – including pilots and cabin crew – in Abu Dhabi’s vaccination programme. Etihad also ensured the Etihad Airways Medical Centre became an accredited COVID-19 vaccination clinic.
Dr Nadia Bastaki, Vice President Medical Services and CSR, Etihad Aviation Group, said: “Following the national vaccination programme, we worked tirelessly to become an approved COVID-19 vaccination clinic to support our staff, and their dependants, be able to easily access the vaccine. Since December 2020, we have been offering in-house vaccination appointments to our employees and their loved ones to ensure we are focused on our employee’s wellbeing.”
The Protected Together initiative includes virtual talks to connect staff with leading medical professionals, mobile clinics so employees can receive the vaccine at work, and staff are provided access to simple and clear vaccine information.
The UAE Government’s target is to vaccinate half of the UAE population by the end of March 2021. Etihad is ahead of schedule with over 75 per cent of its entire workforce already having received at least one dose of the vaccine.