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Delta Boeing 767-300 LAX los angeles landing

A Delta Boeing 767-300 lands in Los Angeles. (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Ben Suskind)

Delta Mandates Vaccinations for New Employees

Delta Air Lines announced it will be requiring all new hires joining the airline in the U.S  to be vaccinated as it aims to achieve employee immunity as soon as possible to operate safely.

In an interview with CNN, Delta CEO Ed Bastian said that all new hires will require being vaccinated as the airline works towards recovery in passenger levels. While current employees will not be mandated to get their shot — or shots — the executive said the airline strongly encourages them to do so and to understand the risks that come with not getting the vaccine.

Additionally, Bastian commented that 60% of Delta’s 75,000 employees have had at least one dose of the vaccine. With vaccination centers being widely open across the U.S, it seems some employees are reluctant to get the vaccine. Only 30% of Georgia’s adult population is fully vaccinated, so Delta might have a challenge ahead getting its entire workforce vaccinated.

The airline has not yet announced if they will roll out any incentives to encourage unvaccinated staff to get their shot. However, Bastian has noted that employees that decide not to be immunized might face restrictions in the future, such as not being able to operate international flights.

Delta has big plans for the summer, lots of them resting on its bet on international leisure travel, as the EU evaluates opening travel for vaccinated individuals. Last week, the Atlanta-based carrier began quarantine-free flights to Italy, flying from Atlanta to Rome and from New York to Milan. Passengers are tested before departure and upon arrival with rapid antigen tests, which are mandatory in addition to a PCR test which has to be taken within 72 hours before departure. Those who are negative on both tests are able to skip a 14-day quarantine.

Delta also recently resumed flights from Boston and New York to Reykjavik, Iceland as the country opens up to vaccinated travellers. The Atlanta-based carrier is also launching flights from New York to Dubrovnik, Croatia, which is open to tourism for those who can present either proof of vaccination or a negative PCR test.

As the airline tries to get people back to the skies, mass vaccination has proven to be among the only weapons to achieve this.

On one hand, the carrier needs crew to be vaccinated to operate to countries where it is an entry requirement. On the other, getting airline and airport personnel immunized is a necessity to reduce the viral charge and transmission in airport and aircraft environments.

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