United Airlines and Frontier Airlines both mandate vaccinations for all crew members in a move over the weekend hours apart from each other.
The increasing spread of the Delta variant of the COVID-19 virus has alarmed carriers to make the change as Frontier was the first airline to report “softening” bookings since the outbreak.
United Airlines said employees will need to show proof of vaccination five weeks after the Pfizer gets fully approved by the US Food and Drug Association, or by 25 October.
The FDA will likely approve the vaccine within the next few months, President Joe Biden said last week.
“We know some of you will disagree with this decision to require the vaccine for all United employees,” CEO Scott Kirby and president Brett Hart told employees over the weekend.
But “the facts are crystal clear: everyone is safer when everyone is vaccinated,” they said.
Employees who have already been double-jabbed or do so before 20 September will receive an additional day off as an incentive to receive it as early as possible.
The Chicago-based airline employs around 67,000 people in the US and, since June, has required new hires to be vaccinated, the same as Delta Air Lines.
Apparently, up to 90 per cent of its pilots and almost 80 per cent of flight attendants are already vaccinated.
Before the announcement, United only mandated crew to be vaccinated if traveling to high-risk countries, specifically to India, Brazil, and numerous South American regions.
Low-cost carrier Frontier announced only hours after United that all employees will need to be fully vaccinated by 1 October.
“As we continue to watch the rapid increase of new COVID-19 cases across the United States caused by the delta variant, I am concerned for the well-being of our team members, their families and friends,” said CEO Barry Biffle.
“Safety is of the utmost importance at Frontier and we need to take every step possible for us to keep our teams safe, protect the operation and protect our passengers.”
Biffle added it was “time” for employees to do what they can to assist in reducing the spread.
The Denver-based airline said if employees choose not to vaccinate, they must be tested regularly and provide proof of a negative test before work.
The company said since the latest outbreak in the US, it has reported reduced bookings.
Airlines in America are still not mandating vaccinations for passengers despite major calls from customers to make it a requirement.
In America, 50.6 per cent of the population of the population have been fully vaccinated.