KEY POINTS

  • Over 5,200 employees of the airline have signed up to get inoculated
  • Singapore approved the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine
  • The airlines cut about 4,300 jobs last year

Singapore Airlines, which began its COVID-19 vaccination program last week, hopes to become the world’s first airline to have all its staff members vaccinated. The carrier confirmed to CNN Travel that all its crew members have been offered free COVID-19 vaccines by the Singapore government.

Over 5,200 employees of the airline have already signed up to get inoculated, Reuters quoted from a memo sent to staff by Singapore Airlines CEO Goh Phong Choon, who has already received his first dose of vaccine.

The report added that vaccinating Singapore’s aviation staff is crucial as the island-state plans to host the World Economic Forum and the Shangri-La Dialogue Asian security summit soon.

Last year, the airline was hit hard because of the pandemic and had to cut about 4,300 jobs — 20 percent of its staff. In a statement, it had said that it will operate a smaller fleet and a reduced network in the coming years to remain viable. Singapore Airlines does not have a domestic market to rely on as countries closed their borders to stem the spread of COVID-19, says the Reuters report.

Singapore has reported over 50,000 COVID-19 cases to date and 29 deaths related to the virus, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University.

Last month, Singapore approved the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and launched a vaccination campaign after receiving the first shipment. The government is offering the vaccine free to its residents on a voluntary basis and plans to have enough vaccines for the entire city by the third quarter of 2021. Nurse Sarah Lim was the first person to be inoculated in Singapore.

CNN reported that crew members will not have to undergo the COVID-19 test upon their return to Singapore post-vaccination. They will also face fewer security measures. The flight crew is currently tested on the seventh day of their return to the island-state, the report added.

Meanwhile, Dubai-based Emirates has also started vaccinating its employees against COVID-19. It is offering the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and the one developed by China National Pharmaceutical Group to its staff.

Singapore Airlines last month said it was cutting about 4,300 jobs Singapore Airlines last month said it was cutting about 4,300 jobs Photo: AFP / ROSLAN RAHMAN