The UAE’s three major airlines have begun staff vaccinations for employees, with Etihad being the first followed by Emirates and Flydubai all moving to protect frontline staff.

Emirates Airlines started offering employees vaccinations in mid-January against the COVID-19 disease with priority given to front-line workers such as cabin crew and pilots. Emirates President Tim Clark told Reuters on Jan. 13 he was confident the airline’s entire fleet of 275 widebody jets would be in use by the end of the year despite the rise in global cases.

Flydubai confirmed the airline has also begun a voluntary programme for staff. “Flydubai has a vaccination drive underway for its employees,” the airline said in a statement.

In Asia, Singapore Airlines urged workers at its national airline, to help make it the world’s first carrier with all its staff vaccinated against COVID-19. According to a memo sent to staff by CEO Goh. “Vaccinations are widely expected to be the game-changer in facilitating the opening of borders once again,” Goh said. “This will also be an important differentiator in the airline industry…I strongly urge everyone who is eligible to get vaccinated as soon as possible.”

“SIA (Singapore Airlines) can be the first vaccinated international airline of the world. Try to get that done,” Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung told aviation workers at a vaccination drive last month.

The travel industry has been among the worst hit by the coronavirus crisis and a recent resurgence in global infections has driven down demand in some countries re-entering lockdowns. However, with the initiatives the industry is taking, we will hopefully see a recovery sooner rather than later.

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