Qantas 'has no authority' to impose COVID-19 vaccine requirement - aviation expert

An aviation expert says Qantas "has no authority" to impose a requirement on passengers to get a COVID-19 vaccination before boarding.

CEO Alan Joyce announced on Tuesday that coronavirus vaccinations will be compulsory on Qantas flights once international travel recommences and he will be changing the terms and conditions of travel to make sure of it.

"For international travellers, we will ask people to have a vaccination before they get on the aircraft," Joyce told Australian TV show A Current Affair.

"Certainly, for international visitors coming out and people leaving the country we think that's a necessity."

The comments came just hours after an announcement from the International Air Transport Association revealing it's in the final development phase of a digital health pass that will support the safe reopening of borders.  

"That's where the problem starts. An airline has no authority and no competency to impose a requirement like this," she said.

"I mean airlines can do these sorts of things but the reality is that if you get on board [a flight] without the government authority, in terms of issuing that certificate, if you get on board then you might get to the other end and find you are on your way back again."

She said that Qantas' announcement is enticing customers to fly with them, it isn't about making travel harder.

"It's about putting Qantas up there in lights. It gives the image of Qantas being ahead of the pack and Qantas is going to have this certificate. But the reality is it isn't a Qantas certificate, it's a global certificate which will enable you and I to travel from country A to country B."

But King's warning travellers that flying will never be the same again.

"Don't ever think travelling the globe is going to have the freedoms we previously had. There are going to be new and different restrictions. From my experience, each country likes to do things a wee bit different. So you are going to have different rules, different requirements. The only thing I can say is if you don't have a requirement you will get deported."