After announcing in January that it would provide Covid-19 vaccinations across its workforce in the UAE, the Emirates Group hit another milestone this week: operating its first flight serviced by fully vaccinated frontline teams.
On 21 February, EK215 departed Dubai at 8:30 AM for Los Angeles. The flight was supported by more than 70 vaccinated Emirates members across the operational spectrum: from check-in, security, business and first class lounge and boarding gate employees, to engineers, baggage handlers, pilots, and cabin crew.
"Our operational workforce are at the aviation frontline, helping people get to where they need to be, and moving essential goods to global communities. Protecting our people with vaccinations is important – for them, for our community, for the smooth running of our operations, and also for our customers as it introduces an additional layer of protection when they travel with us," said Adel Al Redha, chief operating officer, Emirates Airline.
To date, about 26,000 staff — or 44% of the group’s frontline aviation workforce — have received both doses of either the Pfizer-BioNTech or Sinopharm vaccines. Of these, nearly 5,000 are cabin and flight crew.
Al Redha reported a "high demand and take-up of the Covid-19 vaccine" among Emirates staffers, with a continued momentum in the rate of vaccinations across the business.
The Group’s vaccination centres have been running 12 hours a day, every day of the week to prioritise and provide aviation frontliners with the vaccine.
“With the rapid progress of our own vaccination program and high rates of take-up, more of our flights will soon be operating with fully vaccinated frontline employees.
"We are also confident that with more people being vaccinated, combined with strong safety measures in place, we can all look forward to the easing of border entry guidelines for many countries,” said Al Redha.
The UAE has so far administered more than 5.4 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine. Our World In Data, a research website based at Oxford University, reported on 21 February that the country’s distribution rate stands at 56.16 doses per 100 people, ranking it the second highest in the world.