Just over two months ago, in mid-June 2020, Singapore Airlines first gained regulatory approval to allow passengers on selected itineraries to transit through Changi Airport. It marked the first time those on connecting itineraries had been permitted to pass through since the Singapore government vetoed both visitors and transit passengers back in March 2020.
At first the list of approved transit origin cities was small, covering only the SIA group’s current Australia and New Zealand network, however it has progressively grown to a much wider selection of cities, initially encompassing two additional principal ‘zones’ in Europe and North Asia.
Some South East Asia countries were then added, for a total of 28 cities by mid-August 2020.
All countries are now approved, except Philippines, USA
Today Singapore Airlines has widened its list of approved transit origin cities across all countries on its current operating network, with the exception of:
Points served in those two countries continue to be approved as destinations only for transit passengers. Those originating in these countries on SIA Group services must end their journey in Singapore, subject to the current entry eligibility criteria.
As a result of this extensive addition to the approval list, passengers flying on SIA group carriers originating in the following cities are now also eligible to transit through Changi:
- Bangkok (SIA)
- Ipoh (Scoot)
- Jakarta (SIA)
- Kuala Lumpur (SIA, SilkAir, Scoot)
- Kuching (Scoot)
- Medan (SilkAir)
- Penang (Scoot)
- Surabaya (Scoot)
- Tianjin (Scoot)
These new approvals now open up intra-SE Asia transit itineraries, like Bangkok to Jakarta or Kuala Lumpur to Phnom Penh, with a transit through Changi.
The following five cities are approved as origin-only points for transit itineraries through Changi Airport, including Scoot’s newly reinstated Tianjin route.
|Valid Origin-only Points: SIA Group
(for transit through Changi)
While you can board a flight at any of these cities on a connecting flight to another point on the SIA network, you cannot fly to these points on a transit itinerary through Changi from another country.
“Please note that transfers to destinations in Mainland China are currently not available.”
Origin and destination cities
The following 32 cities are approved as either origin or destination points for transit itineraries through Changi Airport.
|Valid Origin & Destination Points: SIA Group
(for transit through Changi)
|Hong Kong||Hong Kong|
|Ho Chi Minh|
For example it is possible to fly from Sydney to Tokyo or from Tokyo to Sydney, as both of these cities are approved as both origin and destination points for transit itineraries through Changi Airport.
Note: Singapore Airlines has temporarily suspended passenger flights from Singapore to Melbourne until 24th October 2020 due to government restrictions. Melbourne to Singapore flights continue as planned.
The following four cities are approved only as final destination points for transit itineraries through Changi Airport.
|Valid Destination-only Points: SIA Group
(for transit through Changi)
For example, it is possible to fly from London to Manila with a transit in Changi, but not from Manila to London, as Manila is a destination-only city, you cannot originate there on a connecting itinerary.
London, however, is a valid origin point.
Assuming you’re eligible to book a transit itinerary through Singapore from one of the above origin-only or origin and destination-approved points, we’ve got a full breakdown of where you can and can’t currently fly with Singapore Airlines and SilkAir, including details of operation by day of the week.
Recently London, Hong Kong and Kuala Lumpur were upgraded to daily service, with frequency increases on other routes including Seoul. This will no doubt help the airline to capitalise on these transit passenger approvals.
You can also see where Scoot is currently flying passenger flights from Changi in August 2020, with the low-cost carrier yet to confirm its September and October schedules.
This large swathe of new additions to the approval list continues to open up the opportunity for return routings, which weren’t logical when transits were first approved with only Australia and New Zealand as permitted origin points.
“Eligible customers may book a return flight only if both the point of origin and the final destination are in the list of cities approved for transit through Singapore.”
In fact, your city must be on the list of origin and destination approved cities (the second table above, with 32 current options), since return routings would not be possible on the group’s five China routes.
As before, all sectors must be booked with SIA Group airlines and require passengers to be checked through from their point of origin to their final destination.
If either your origin or destination city is not on the list of approved transit points, a return routing is not possible.
For example Auckland to Los Angeles via Singapore is fine, but you cannot then return on such a routing as Los Angeles is not on the list of approved origin cities.
The transit experience
‘Not as you once knew it’ is the best summary here. If you’re on a connecting flight itinerary through Changi at the moment you’ll have to follow a relatively strict and secluded experience.
Essentially it involves:
- Being provided with a wristband to identify you as a transit passenger.
- Being escorted to a specific transit holding area, with no opportunity to visit any shops, restaurants or lounges.
- Being escorted back to your departure gate around 75 minutes before the departure of your onward flight.
Passengers must remain within the transit holding area for the duration of their connection, though they can order food and drinks to be delivered through an app, and those with PPS Club status or flying in First or Business Class have their own dedicated area with complimentary food and drinks.
See our article for a full rundown on the new transit experience.
Another available option for those with longer connections is a room at the Aerotel Transit Hotel in Terminal 1, though in that case you’ll again have to be escorted to and from the hotel itself and won’t be free to leave your room during your booked time there.
For full updated information on the transit process through Changi Airport, see the airline’s dedicated page here.
When transit connections through Changi were first reintroduced back in June 2020 there were only only seven eligible origin cities for SIA Group passengers.
This latest significant expansion encompasses almost all the airline’s current network, with the exception of the Philippines and the USA, for a total of 37 valid origin points.
Intra-SE Asia transit itineraries are now also possible, which should allow the group airlines to tap into some more local and regional demand.
Only yesterday we were reporting how Singapore Airlines load factors increased to nearly a quarter in July 2020 as a result of improved transit approvals, with the best showings on Australia and Europe flights, and these further permissions will no doubt also help bolster the numbers for August 2020.
Progressively increasing transit approvals should also help Changi Airport serve more customers, with the facility seeing its lowest ever throughput of 24,500 passengers in May 2020, followed by an increase to 48,200 passengers in June 2020.
The airport operator is due to report its July 2020 operating statistics this week.
These approvals are essential for SIA to remain competitive, with unrestricted transits now permitted through the likes of Doha, Dubai and Hong Kong with other major hub-and-spoke carriers.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, around a third of passengers passing through Changi Airport each year were in transit, so this is potentially big business for both SIA and Changi airport.
(Cover Photo: Shutterstock)