Virgin Australia has confirmed it will not mandate vaccinations for its passengers on domestic flights.
Chief executive Jayne Hrdlicka said on Thursday the issue was a “matter for government” but it would follow any rules implemented by states.
The business previously revealed it would make COVID jabs mandatory for customer-facing staff by 15 November and office-based employees by 31 March.
Speaking at the Flight Centre’s Illuminate conference, Hrdlicka called the decision “difficult” because the company can only have certainty over its own staff.
“I suspect some states will require only vaccinated travellers to move between states, and we will absolutely support any government requirement,” Hrdlicka said.
“But it’s not on us to mandate that ourselves. It’s really a matter for the government. So, we stand ready to implement and we think it makes sense to do that. We stand ready to work with the governments on how to make that practical and realistic.”
Hrdlicka added that the situation would likely be different for international travel, where COVID jabs would be “a must-have”.
Vaccinations are set to be effectively mandatory for travelling into Australia next month, with NSW scrapping the expensive hotel quarantine for those who have been fully inoculated against coronavirus from 1 November.
Hrdlicka previously hailed jabs as “the only way back to normal freedom of movement” and the “only solution to the situation Australia currently finds itself in”.
“The majority of our team at Virgin Australia are already vaccinated, and we will be listening to our team members to ensure we find the best fit policy for our organisation,” she said.
“We know that some team members have questions and concerns about vaccinations. Through an internal campaign of education with qualified experts, we aim to inform and assure as many of our team members as possible.
“We trust medical experts, their advice and the evidence that shows that vaccines save lives and reduce hospitalisation rates.”
The business said a recent survey of team members found that over 75 per cent of frontline staff had received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, with another 9 per cent registered.
Victoria has already opened its border to NSW, but only to fully vaccinated residents.
Those meeting the requirements will also not have to take a test or quarantine as Greater Sydney was downgraded from a red to orange zone, as part of its traffic light system.