American Airlines, Alaska Airlines and JetBlue are following United Airlines in requiring employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19, as the Biden administration steps up pressure on major US carriers to mandate the shots.
The airlines provide special flights, cargo hauling and other services for the government. The companies say that makes them government contractors who are covered by President Joe Biden‘s order directing contractors to require employees to be vaccinated.
American Airlines told employees on Friday that it would require all U.S.-based employees and some international crew members to be vaccinated. In a letter to employees signed by the company’s chief executive and presidents, American said the move was necessary because of its status as a government contractor.
Last month, President Biden announced that employees of government contractors would be required to be vaccinated, with only limited exceptions. The airline’s letter gave no timetable, but the White House has said the deadline for employees of current contractors to be vaccinated is Dec. 8.
Separately, Alaska Airlines and JetBlue said on Friday that they, too, would mandate the vaccine for employees, also citing the requirement for federal contractors. In a statement, Alaska Airlines said it would extend to Dec. 1 a $200 incentive for employees who upload proof of full vaccination.
“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 letter said. Employees who have medical or religious reasons to decline the vaccine could apply for an accommodation, the letter said. The letter was reported earlier by Reuters.
ARTICLE: PAUL MURDOCH
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: WALL STREET JOURNAL
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