American Airlines is joining several other carriers in requiring its employees to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
In a letter to employees on Friday, Chairman and CEO Doug Parker and President Robert Isom said that employees based in the U.S. and some international crew members would need to get inoculated.
The executives explained that the requirement stemmed from the company’s classification as a government contractor due to its involvement in cargo contracts with the Department of Defense and work with the City Pair and Civil Reserve Air Fleet programs. Last month, President Biden mandated COVID-19 vaccines for federal workers.
While we are still working through the details of the federal requirements, it is clear that team members who choose to remain unvaccinated will not be able to work at American Airlines,” the two airline executives said in the staff memo. “Team members who cannot be vaccinated because of a disability or sincerely held religious belief can request an accommodation on Jetnet.”
Their letter did not specify a timeline for employees
to be vaccinated, nor did it mention an option for employees to get regularly tested. The executives mentioned that while the federal mandate “may be difficult” for those who chose not be vaccinated yet against COVID-19, “it is what is required of our company, and we will comply.”
Several other airline companies — JetBlue Airways and Alaska Airlines — have also recently told their employees that they will be required to get the vaccine, given their work as federal contractors. Both companies are requiring employees to get the COVID-19 vaccine by Dec. 8.
In August, United Airlines became the first major carrier to require its 67,000 employees to get vaccinated.
“We know some of you will disagree with this decision to require the vaccine for all United employees,” United CEO Scott Kirby and President Brett Hart wrote to staff in a memo at the time.
“But, we have no greater responsibility to you and your colleagues than to ensure your safety when you’re at work, and the facts are crystal clear: everyone is safer when everyone is vaccinated.”