Yesterday we reported on a small piece of good news for air travel in Singapore, with Singapore-based low-cost carrier Scoot revealing that it would be doubling passenger services (albeit from a very low baseline) in early June 2020.
Later in the evening it was announced that transit passengers would be allowed to pass through Singapore Changi Airport from 2nd June 2020, when the first stage of ‘circuit breaker’ measures (lockdown restrictions for our non-Singapore readers) is progressively relaxed.
There will however be significant restrictions in place initially, with transit passengers remaining segregated from others, meaning no shopping, no lounge and no visits to Jewel.
The ban on transit passengers through Singapore Changi Airport was initially imposed on 24th March 2020, at the same time short-term visitors were also barred from entering the country as the COVID-19 outbreak took hold.
Only Singapore citizens, permanent residents, long term pass holders and selected work pass holders were then permitted to enter the country, subject to a 14-day Stay Home Notice.
The Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) has now stated that it will allow transit passengers to pass through the airport once again from 2nd June 2020, subject to appropriate proposals set out by the operating airlines.
These proposals must specify designated ‘transfer lanes’ through the terminal to ensure no mixing with other passengers in the terminal, in addition to taking account of aviation safety, public health considerations and the health of passengers and crew.
“This is part of Singapore’s strategy to gradually reopen air transport to meet the needs of our economy and our people, whilst ensuring sufficient safeguards for safe travel” CAAS
Singapore’s Ministry of Health had already announced earlier this week that borders will be gradually reopened in the coming months to support essential travel.
“We will gradually reopen our borders for Singaporeans to conduct essential activities overseas and to allow safe travel for foreigners entering or transiting through Singapore. We will do so in a careful manner with the necessary precautions and safeguards….
“Singapore is currently exploring the possibility of piloting green lane arrangements with a few countries assessed to be at equivalent or lower risk of community transmission as Singapore, for which essential travel in limited numbers and with safeguards, could be conducted safely. We will consider expanding such arrangements gradually as global conditions improve.” Singapore Ministry of Health
At a global air hub like Singapore Changi Airport, transit passengers are big business.
Although specific figures are not separately published, Changi Airport Group’s Managing Director for Airhub Development confirmed to FlightGlobal in 2018 that “around one-third [of passengers] are transit”.