Vaccination requirements strengthened at Auckland Airport

02 November 2021

Another layer of protection to the health and wellbeing of staff and the wider community has been added with the new requirement that all Auckland Airport employees, visitors, and contractors be vaccinated before coming to the company’s worksites.

Mary-Liz Tuck, Auckland Airport’s General Manager Corporate Services, said more than 98% of the company’s staff were fully vaccinated, but the policy changes had been introduced to further strengthen health and safety in the workplace.

“As we begin preparations for the easing of restrictions in Auckland and the return to the office for our non-front-line staff, we considered what measures we needed put in place to make sure everyone was as safe as possible at work. Having a really clear vaccination policy for all staff is part of the process. It’s about ensuring everyone feels confident when they come to work, they are stepping into a workplace where their safety is taken seriously,” Ms Tuck said.

From 1 November, only those employees who are vaccinated can come into Auckland Airport workplaces or attend company events. The policy also applies to contractors entering Auckland Airport’s infrastructure worksites. The company is also currently consulting airport-based organisations on a change to the Airport Workers’ Rules to ensure all staff with airside (beyond security screening) access and those in customer-facing roles at the terminals be fully vaccinated by mid-December.

“While many of our staff are involved with the day-to-day running of the airport, as an infrastructure business lots are in roles that see them in working alongside a range of construction contractors building and maintaining the airport, which is why we extended the policy to include all sites at the airport that are visited by our employees,” she said.

“The health impact of COVID-19 cannot be underestimated, and vaccination is a key tool in limiting the serious effects of this disease. It is important we put into practice the latest scientific and government health advice to protect not only our staff, but those around them – their workmates, whanau, and the wider community.”

Currently 270 Auckland Airport’s staff are vaccinated as part of the Government’s mandatory vaccination requirements for workers in frontline roles, which was completed ahead of the government deadline to ensure essential staff were safeguarded from the more virulent delta variant. Auckland Airport has also updated its employment agreements to require all new hires be vaccinated before joining the company.

Ms Tuck said almost all the remaining staff from the company’s 441-strong workforce have already made the personal decision to get vaccinated.

“Our staff have been amazingly supportive of vaccinations. Managing the risks of COVID-19 has been an everyday part of their working life for close to two years, whether it’s PPE or infection prevention control cleaning procedures, and they recognised the importance of the vaccine in managing the disease risks.

“Because some of our staff were among the first in New Zealand to get vaccinated, we’ve been able to put in place the support – whether it’s discussions with vaccination experts through to sick leave provisions – to make it easier for everyone to get vaccinated when the opportunity arose.

Alongside the vaccination requirement Auckland Airport has stepped up its testing regime for its business-critical, frontline staff. In addition to the fortnightly nasal pharyngeal PCR test, operational staff are undertaking twice-weekly saliva testing. It has also been among a coalition of major New Zealand businesses who have supported the trial of rapid antigen testing in workplaces.