KLM prepares for countries introducing vaccination obligation
Starting 14 September, KLM is requesting that all KLM flight personnel who are not vaccinated against Covid-19 and who cannot, therefore, meet the entry requirements set by certain countries, report their vaccination status to KLM Health Services. KLM Health Services will register this as a travel restriction, so that unvaccinated crew are not deployed to destinations with entry requirements which they cannot meet. This is in line with standard KLM procedures for crew members who have travel restrictions for personal, visa or health reasons. Managers do not have access to the reasons behind a travel restriction.
From the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, KLM worked hard to maintain its global network as much as possible. This meant that customers were able to make (necessary) journeys and cargo flights, including shipments of medical supplies and vaccines, could continue. We now want to carry on offering our customers as many destinations as possible.
In a constantly changing world, we are seeing that more and more countries are making it obligatory for aircrews to be vaccinated, or are considering such a move. Trinidad & Tobago is introducing a vaccination obligation for aircrews on 16 October. Canada and other countries have also indicated that they are considering introducing a vaccination obligation for aircrews soon. Moreover, an increasing number of the hotels where our crews stay now expect to be shown proof of vaccination.
We expect more countries to introduce a vaccination obligation in the near future, which means we will be unable to deploy unvaccinated crew to these destinations. This may also apply to routes over countries that have a vaccination obligation for aircrews. This is due to strict flight safety requirements, which demand that it is always possible for a flight to change course and land in an emergency. For the time being, KLM will do its best to deploy crew with travel restrictions on flights to destinations that do not have entry requirements. But, as the number of countries with a vaccination obligation grows, so too will the associated operational complications for KLM.
KLM will not compel its staff to receive a Covid-19 vaccination. This remains an employee's personal choice. However, KLM does need to know which employees cannot meet certain entry requirements and who, consequently, cannot be deployed to all our destinations. Employees to whom this applies have been asked to report to KLM Health Services, who will communicate the travel restriction to the KLM planning department.