Virgin Australia will make vaccination mandatory for all staff, in a move which aligns the challenger airline's stance with that of Qantas.
Both airlines have adopted the same timeline, with pilots, cabin crew and airport-based employees – including those at checkin desks and lounges – required to be fully vaccinated by 15 November 2021.
All other office-based staff will have until 31 March 2022 to receive their jabs, although Virgin says that "short extensions" will be possible in circumstances where the availability of vaccine has been limited, such as geographical area and individual eligibility.
Virgin Australia Group CEO Jayne Hrdlicka said that while the majority of team members are already vaccinated and support the policy, the airline will continue its information program with medical
"This is the right policy for the extraordinary times we live in and is a decision that will keep our people safe," said Virgin Australia Group CEO Jayne Hrdlicka.
"We know this will be difficult for some of our people, but we have a responsibility to do our part to protect our people, the community and our way of life. Vaccination is the way to do that."
While Qantas will also require passengers on most overseas flights to be fully vaccinated in a 'no jab, no fly' approach, Virgin Australia's network of mainly domestic routes with some flights to New Zealand makes this less an issue – although New Zealand is likely to require that all visitors be vaccinated once trans-Tasman travel returns.
"We also remain supportive of any government-led measures to ensure travellers are vaccinated," Hrdlicka added.
As previously reported, Virgin is now offering its fully-vaccinated Velocity Frequent Flyer members the chance to win anything from one million Velocity points to a pair of business class pyjamas.
The full prize pool in the airline's vaccination incentive scheme is valued at $150,000 and runs out as follows:
- one million Velocity points
- 50 return economy flights with Virgin Australia
- 25 return business class flights with Virgin Australia
- 30 Virgin Australia lounge memberships
- 10 x 100,000 Velocity Points
- 50 x 10,000 Velocity Points
- 85 pairs of Virgin Australia PJs
"Vaccination is our way back to the things we love and the people we miss, and most importantly, it's the only way we can protect the lives and livelihoods of all Australians," espouses Hrdlicka.