Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, has become the first airline in the world with all its operating pilots and cabin crew vaccinated to help curb the spread of COVID-19 and give passengers who travel with the airline peace of mind.
In January 2021, Etihad was awarded Diamond status for ensuring the highest standards of cleanliness and sanitisation in the inaugural ‘APEX Health Safety, powered by SimpliFlying’ audit. The airline’s vaccination initiative has consolidated Etihad’s position as an industry leader in its response to the pandemic and in keeping its employees and travellers safe.
Tony Douglas, group chief executive officer of 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% 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.”
This achievement was made possible through Etihad’s ‘Protected Together’ employee vaccination initiative which was formally launched in January this year. Building on the UAE’s Choose to Vaccinate campaign, Protected Together is about helping staff take proactive, personal steps towards protecting themselves against COVID-19.
In 2020, Etihad took significant steps towards supporting employees to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. In collaboration with the health authorities, the airline facilitated access for its frontline staff to the UAE’s Emergency Use Programme. Etihad 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 of medical services and CSR in 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.”
To help further grow employee confidence, 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.
Following the UAE Government’s target to vaccinate half of the UAE population by the end of March 2021, Etihad is ahead of schedule with over 75% of its entire workforce already having received at least one dose of the vaccine. With even more activity still planned as part of the Protected Together initiative, this figure will continue to grow as more employees step forward and choose to vaccinate.