SINGAPORE - Singapore Airlines (SIA) began operating flights on Thursday with full sets of crew members vaccinated against COVID-19 as the city-state seeks to rejuvenate its status as an international travel hub.
The airline said pilots and cabin crew on three international flights from Singapore had received both of the required doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.
The Singapore government has urged workers at the national airline to sign up for its inoculation program in a bid to make SIA the world's first carrier with all staff vaccinated against COVID-19.
Singapore Airlines said Thursday's three flights with a fully vaccinated crew - to Jakarta, Bangkok and Phnom Penh - were among the first in the world.
The carrier said more than 90 percent of its cabin crew and pilots have signed up for the vaccine. Around 85% of those have received at least the first dose, and many have begun getting the second dose, it added. SIA expects all those who have signed up to receive the second dose by the end of March.
Singapore, a major international trade and travel hub, lacks a domestic travel market and international travel is expected to take until 2024 to rebound to 2019 levels, according to industry estimates.
Abu Dhabi's Etihad Airways said on Wednesday that its flights were only being operated by pilots and cabin crew who had been vaccinated, which a spokeswoman later said meant had received at least one dose.
(Reporting by Aradhana Aravindan in Singapore; editing by Jane Wardell)