Written by Staff Writer
Singapore Airlines is making no bones about its stringent requirements for its on-board crew.
“Where vaccination is not required to meet the required safety threshold, the airlines must cover under the upper limit of required vaccinations to assure the crew is fully covered,” it writes on its website.
It wasn’t always like this.
“I remember one time (the airline) carried some sort of ‘handbook’ of what you were allowed to carry on board, and there was quite a list of things — it seemed pretty comprehensive,” says Austin Lee, a professor of social sciences at the University of Hong Kong.
However, he says that it’s clear that vaccination requirements are much more onerous today.
“In the past, airline employees were required to either be vaccinated before the day they began working, or the day after they left (for their home country).”
In March, a plane carrying about 150 passengers was forced to make an emergency landing when an unvaccinated crew member fell ill.
The offending crew member was from Singapore Airlines and was reportedly infected with the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) virus, which is spread by close contact.
Singapore Airlines says it hopes to meet both those requirements by the end of the year, which is when it expects the Ebola outbreak in West Africa to be under control.
Singapore Airlines, which is currently one of the largest international airlines in Asia , operates to a range of destinations across the globe.
Lee says he sees the requirement in this way: “They are saying: we need to do it now because we don’t want the same thing to happen tomorrow.”
Robert Francis, a professor of aviation management at Simon Fraser University in Canada, agrees: “The same thing is likely to happen again in the future, and it’s a better policy to have that policy in place now than not.”