Singapore is set to be reconnected with Bali via direct flights for the first time since March 2020, with the reintroduction of services by Singapore Airlines from next month, initially operating on a twice-weekly basis.
At this stage, flights remain restricted to those eligible to enter Indonesia, such as Indonesian nationals, those with a temporary or permanent residence visa (KITAS/KITAP) or an APEC Business Travel Card.
A negative pre-departure COVID-19 PCR test is required within 72 hours of departure, with a second test and five days of quarantine imposed on arrival.
Nonetheless, last month we reported how Bali has embarked on a vaccination drive among tourism workers, with a view to forming international travel bubbles into an established ‘Green Zone’ on the island later this year.
The programme aims to vaccinate 600,000 tourism workers and other key workers by July 2021. The ‘Green Zone’ for tourists is planned to include the following areas:
- Nusa Dua
- Nusa Penida
According to Travel Trade Weekly, once tourism workers are inoculated, and comprehensive screening is widely available on the island, it is likely authorities will reopen Bali for tourists using travel bubbles or corridors based on bilateral agreements with low-risk countries.
SIA is deploying its 162-seat Boeing 737-800 aircraft on the Bali route twice per week from 4th May 2021, an aircraft type recently introduced to the fleet as part of the merger of SilkAir into the mainline carrier.
From 4th May 2021
The current Singapore Airlines schedule is confirmed through to 31st May 2021, after which the carrier’s normal full flight programme is published, pending further revision closer to the time.
We expect similar twice-weekly flights will be confirmed for June 2021 in due course.
In January 2020, prior to COVID-19, there were 125 flights per week in each direction on the Singapore – Bali route, operated by the following carriers:
- AirAsia: 28/wk
- Garuda: 7/wk
- Scoot: 21/wk
- SilkAir: 7/wk
- Jetstar: 27/wk
- KLM: 7/wk
- SIA: 28/wk
Unfortunately the Boeing 737-800s are a bit of a step-down from SIA’s wide-body aircraft, with recliner seats in Business Class and no seat-back entertainment system installed.
These aircraft are a temporary addition to the fleet, eventually set to be replaced by Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft with flat-bed Thompson Vantage Business Class seats, but for now it’s a downgrade from the Boeing 787-10s previously used on the Bali route.
These are the one-way KrisFlyer miles redemption rates for flights between Singapore and Bali on SIA flights.
|KrisFlyer Redemption Rates
Singapore ⇆ Bali
This is one shorter route where we do actually redeem Business Saver rates at 19,000 miles each way from time to time, since we think it provides decent value for a 2.5-hour flight, provided a newer cabin product can be secured.
With the Boeing 737-800 operating, however, that’s not really a good deal in our book, so Economy Saver redemptions or cash fares are more likely the way to go until better aircraft are deployed on Bali flights.
Bali looks set to join the list of destinations opening up to tourism again in the second half of 2021, and these flights by Singapore Airlines from May mark the start of the carrier’s intent to be at the forefront of the plans.
They will also represent the first regular direct link between Singapore and the popular holiday island in over a year.
For now, however, services will cater to residents returning and those with business travel authorisation, both originating in Singapore and in transit from SIA’s worldwide network, including from Europe.
Let’s keep our fingers crossed that Bali’s vaccination plans to allow tourism reopening and its low COVID-19 case numbers continue, so we can perhaps plan trips there in the second half of this year, even if it is on a Boeing 737!
(Cover Photo: Shutterstock)