Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, said it has become the first airline in the world with all its operating pilots and cabin crew vaccinated against Covid-19.

Tony Douglas, group chief executive at Etihad Aviation Group, said: “We proactively made the vaccine available to all our employees to not only help combat the effects of Covid-19 but to make travellers feel confident and reassured the next time they fly with us.

“We are the only airline in the world to make Covid-19 testing mandatory for every passenger and crew member before every flight and now, we’re the first airline in the world with 100% vaccinated crew on board.”

He added: “I chose very early on to be vaccinated to demonstrate my own support of the national vaccination programme and to encourage everyone at Etihad who was eligible for the vaccine, to receive it as soon as possible.”

Etihad’s ‘Protected Together’ employee vaccination initiative was formally launched in January and builds on the UAE’s Choose to Vaccinate campaign.

Dr Nadia Bastaki, vice president of medical services and CSR at Etihad Aviation Group, said: “Following the national vaccination programme, we worked tirelessly to become an approved Covid-19 vaccination clinic to support our staff, and their dependants, be able to easily access the vaccine.

“Since December 2020, we have been offering in-house vaccination appointments to our employees and their loved ones to ensure we are focused on our employee’s wellbeing.”

Following the UAE government’s target to vaccinate half of the UAE population by the end of March 2021, Etihad is ahead of schedule with more than 75% of its entire workforce already having received at least one dose of the vaccine.

Currently, the UAE has the second highest vaccination rate in the world.