International air travel could come booming back next year but with a new rule: Travellers to certain countries must be vaccinated against the coronavirus before they can fly.
Encouraging news about vaccine development has given airlines and nations hope they may soon be able to revive suspended flight routes and dust off lucrative tourism plans. But countries in Asia and the Pacific, in particular, are determined not to let their hard-won gains against the virus evaporate.
In Australia, the boss of Qantas, the country's largest airline, said that once a virus vaccine becomes widely available, his carrier will likely require passengers use it before they can travel abroad or land in Australia.
Qantas Chief Executive Alan Joyce said he's been talking to his counterparts at other airlines around the world about the possibility of a "vaccination passport" for international travellers.
"We are looking at changing our terms and conditions to say for international travellers, that we will ask people to have the vaccination before they get on the aircraft," Joyce told Australia's Network Nine television.
He said they were looking at ways to electronically verify that people have the necessary vaccine for their intended destination, a difficult task.
"But certainly for international visitors coming out, and people leaving the country, we think that's a necessity," he said.
Dr Barbara Allen, a senior lecturer in public management at Victoria University, told Heather du Plessis-Allan that this move isn't surprising.
"They've just been the first off the mark to say this is coming."
She says that health passports and other similar moves could come into force as well.