Alaska Airlines is considering Covid vaccine mandates for staff

Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 taking off from LAX.

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Alaska Airlines announced Wednesday that it is considering making Covid-19 vaccines mandatory for employees, according to a company memo that CNBC viewed.

The policy change would make the Seattle-based airline the newest airline to require vaccines for its employees. On Friday, United Airlines became the first major US airline to require vaccines for its employees. Frontier Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines have since issued similar requirements.

Alaska, which has about 20,000 employees, said if it did make vaccines mandatory it would after the Food and Drug Administration fully approved one of the vaccines currently available under emergency approval.

Airline executives recently raised concerns about the rapidly spreading Delta variant of Covid. Southwest Airlines lowered its revenue and profit forecasts on Wednesday and made the spread of the variant due to weaker bookings and increased cancellations.

Delta, Southwest, and American have encouraged, but not mandated, employee vaccination.

“As an employer with a duty to protect you, and given the contagion and health risks of the COVID-19 virus and its variants, we have the right to make that decision and ask you for information about your vaccine status,” Alaska employees said . It was said that there would be exemptions for religious or medical reasons, similar to other companies.

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