Changi Airport News Singapore Airlines Travel VTL

Switzerland and Australia join Singapore’s VTL list from 8 November

Singapore's VTL gets more expansion with Switzerland joining the two-way quarantine-free list from 8th November, and Australia kicking off with a one-way arrangement for now.

Great news for those looking forward to further expansion for Singapore’s Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) scheme, with confirmation that Australia and Switzerland are joining the list, meaning more options for quarantine-free trips from next month.

Unfortunately for those keen to head to Australia, the arrangement will be one-way initially, with Singapore welcoming fully vaccinated Australian residents, but Australia initially only accepting Australian citizens, permanent residents and their immediate families at this stage.

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“We expect student and business pass holders from Singapore to be able to enter Australia, after Australia has finalised the arrangement for their entry. Other travellers from Singapore would not be able to travel to Australia until a later stage.”

Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore

Reciprocal arrangements for student and business pass holders from Singapore are expected to be in place by 23rd November, according to The Straits Times.

Australian Prime Minster Scott Morrison recently announced that international visitors should be welcomed into Australia again “before the end of the year”, so hopefully we don’t have too long to wait to make a leisure trip.

Eligible travellers can currently fly from Singapore to Australia on one of SIA’s ‘FEPO flights’.

The latest VTL arrangements will be effective from 8th November 2021.

Singapore Vaccinated Travel Lanes

Already Running ๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡ณ Brunei (one-way)
๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ช Germany
๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฆ Canada
๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ฐ Denmark
๐Ÿ‡ซ๐Ÿ‡ท France
๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡น Italy
๐Ÿ‡ณ๐Ÿ‡ฑ Netherlands
๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ Spain
๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง UK
๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ USA
From 8 Nov ๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡บ Australia (one-way)
๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ญ Switzerland
From 15 Nov ๐Ÿ‡ฐ๐Ÿ‡ท South Korea

As you can see these two additional options will beat the launch of the VTL with South Korea by a week. Don’t forget, the rules are set to be a little more onerous for that particular arrangement.

Australia will join the VTL scheme on 8th November, but non-residents won’t be able to travel there until later in the year. (Photo: Shutterstock)

There are therefore now 13 countries under the Vaccinated Travel Lane arrangement, two of which haven’t opened two-way travel at this stage.

Singapore
Vaccinated Travel Lanes

Key Features

  • Must have stayed in a VTL country/region and/or Singapore for 14 days
  • Travel to Singapore on designated ‘VTL flights’
  • No restrictions on travel purpose or itineraries
  • Must be fully vaccinated in Singapore or any VTL country, with an accepted digital proof of vaccination
  • Unvaccinated children aged 12 or under can accompany their parents
  • Visitors and Singapore pass holders must apply for a VTP in advance
  • Two COVID-19 PCR tests replace quarantine / Stay-Home Notice in Singapore

  VTL: All you need to know

COVID-19 testing: Switzerland

For Switzerland no pre-departure or on-arrival testing is required for fully vaccinated travellers from Singapore, so like most European countries already on the VTL list it’s just a case of taking:

  • A pre-departure test within 48 hours of your VTL flight back to Singapore (SQ345)
  • An on-arrival test at Changi Airport, followed by a self-isolation period awaiting the test results

A PCR test with a 5-hour results turnaround time is available at Zurich Airport for CHF 149 (around S$220), which is definitely on the expensive side. Hopefully there are cheaper options in the city centre.

In Switzerland you can take a PCR test at all GPs, hospitals, or specially set up test centres.

Unfortunately Switzerland does not accept Sinopharm or Sinovac vaccinations for arriving tourists at the time of writing.

COVID-19 testing: Australia

Those eligible and travelling to Australia will require a pre-departure PCR test, taken within 72 hours of departure from Singapore, in addition to the ‘standard’ two VTL tests on arrival in Singapore.

Here’s how it looks for those eligible to travel, with a testing regime that will almost certainly apply to leisure travellers later this year, once the VTL opens up as a two-way arrangement for all.

VTL
Singapore Australia
COVID-19 Testing 

Test Cost
Singapore pre-departure* S$125 – S$200
Australia pre-departure* ~S$150
Singapore arrival S$160
Total ~S$435 – S$510

* Prices vary between providers and locations.

As you can see that means an approximate S$435 – S$510 per head testing cost, for a round-trip.

Vaccination certificate requirements

Passengers travelling on a VTL flight to Singapore will need to show their digitally-verifiable vaccination records, provided they have been fully vaccinated in any VTL country, or in Singapore.

Valid sources are as follows:

For those vaccinated in Singapore:

  • A vaccination status on the TraceTogether app or HealthHub app
  • A vaccination certificate issued by the Singapore Ministry of Health in English

For those not vaccinated in Singapore:

  • Holding an EU Digital COVID certificate (EUDCC) issued by any VTL country ๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡บ
  • With a SMART Health Card – CommonTrust Network for the ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ US and ๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฆ Canada
  • With a COVID Pass in the National Health Service (NHS) mobile app in the ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง UK
  • With an International COVID-19 Vaccination Certificate (ICVC) issued by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) in ๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡บ Australia
  • With a vaccination certificate issued by the Korean Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA), as well as authorised clinics and hospitals in ๐Ÿ‡ฐ๐Ÿ‡ท South Korea

Singapore says “we are currently working on accepting digitally verifiable vaccination certificates by other issuers. Further details will be shared at a later date”.

Australia’s vaccination requirements

Once Australia opens up further to all vaccinated travellers from Singapore, we expect the following current requirements will still apply in terms of your vaccination status when travelling there:

  • Being fully vaccinated with aย TGA approvedย orย recognised vaccine, such as Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Janssen-Cilag, Moderna, Coronavac, or Covishield, at least 7 days prior to arrival in Australia.
  • Children under the age of 12 and those who cannot be vaccinated due to a medical condition are exempted from this requirement.
  • The vaccination certificate must be in English, i.e.ย either the Australian Government issued International Covid-19 Vaccination Certificate (ICVC),ย or a paper or digital vaccination certification issued by a national or state/provincial level authority or accredited vaccination provider.

Passengers also currently must complete the Australia Travel Declaration at least 72 hours before their flight departure, which is likely to remain a requirement for the foreseeable future.

Designated VTL flights

Singapore Airlines will operate designated VTL flights from Melbourne and Sydney in Australia, and from Zurich in Switzerland.

A Singapore Airlines A380 departing from Sydney. (Photo: Singapore Airlines)

Scoot will also operate VTL flights from Melbourne and Sydney, while Swiss International Air Lines will operate VTL flights from Zurich. All eligible services start on 8th November.

Melbourne

8th November 2021 – 26th March 2022

  Days
M T W T F S S
 bgcolor= SQ218
A350 Regional
MEL
00:35
SIN

05:15
 bgcolor= SQ228
A350 Regional
MEL
16:40
SIN

21:20
TR19
787-9
MEL
19:40
SIN

00:45*

* Next day

Sydney

8th November 2021 – 30th November 2021

  Days
M T W T F S S
 bgcolor= SQ212
A350 Regional
SYD
09:05
SIN

14:15
 bgcolor= SQ222
777-300ER
SYD
16:10
SIN

21:20
TR13
787-9
SYD
21:45
SIN

03:10*

* Next day

1st December 2021 – 26th March 2022

  Days
M T W T F S S
 bgcolor= SQ212
777-300ER^
SYD
09:05
SIN

14:15
 bgcolor= SQ222
A380
SYD
16:10
SIN

21:20
TR13
787-9
SYD
21:45
SIN

03:10*

^ A350 Regional on 1 December
* Next day

As expected, Singapore Airlines will deploy its Airbus A380 on the designated VTL flight from Sydney to Singapore from December.

Zurich

8th November 2021 – 26th March 2022

  Days
M T W T F S S
 bgcolor= SQ345
A350-900
ZRH
10:35
SIN

06:00*
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Swissair-small-1.png LX176
A340-300
         
ZRH
13:10
SIN

08:30*

* Next day

The daily quota for passengers arriving via VTL flights will also be increased when these new flights begin, from 3,000 per day now to a new cap of 4,000 per day.

We expect to see additional options on these routes loaded by Qantas Airways in due course.

Qantas flights will also likely be joining the VTL scheme. (Photo: Qantas)

We will of course be updating our full list of VTL designated flights on all new VTL routes as soon as we receive the details. It’s worth bookmarking for future reference.

KrisFlyer redemptions

These are the one-way KrisFlyer miles redemption rates for flights between Singapore and Australia on SIA flights.

KrisFlyer Saver Redemption Rates
๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡บ
(to/from Singapore)
  Adelaide
Brisbane
Melbourne
Sydney
(one way)
Perth
(one way)
Economy 28,000
20,000
Premium Economy 47,000
n/a
Business 62,000
36,500
First 85,000
n/a

These are the one-way KrisFlyer miles redemption rates for flights between Singapore and Switzerland on SIA flights.

KrisFlyer Saver Redemption Rates
๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ญ
(to/from Singapore)
  Zurich
(one way)
Economy 38,000
Premium Economy 64,500
Business 92,000
First 125,000

Note that SIA’s Zurich flights are currently being operated by three-class Airbus A350s, which do not have a First Class cabin, so that rate will only be applicable if the route sees an upgrade to Boeing 777-300ERs or back to its (pre-COVID) Airbus A380s.

Vaccinated Travel Pass (VTP)

Those entering Singapore on a VTL flight who are not Singapore Citizens or Permanent residents will have to apply for a VTP 7-30 days prior to departure.

VTP applications for those arriving from both Australia and Switzerland will open on 1st November 2021.

Transit passengers can travel on VTL flights

If you’re booked on a designated VTL flight but are transiting in Changi onto another destination, you can still retain your booking and travel on the flight, provided you are fully vaccinated and comply with the pre-departure testing requirements (which are necessary anyway for those transiting in Singapore).

Transit passengers have been able to fly on designated VTL flights since 19th October 2021. (Photo: Singapore Airlines)

You do not have to apply for a VTP in this case and you are obviously exempt from the on-arrival test at Changi Airport.

Good news is you’ll also now be eligile to roam the terminal and use the lounges during your transit.

Our VTL experience

We travelled over to Frankfurt in early September and flew back via the inaugural Germany – Singapore VTL flight on 7th September 2021. Here’s a step-by-step summary of our experience, which may help you decide whether to give it a try yourself.

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Of course you can now thankfully disregard the Day 3 and Day 7 test article, though you may want to read it to see how you’ll benefit from not having to go through that part of the process after you arrive in Singapore! Those additional tests were thankfully ditched in the last VTL process update.

1: Getting a pre-departure COVID-19 test

READ THE ARTICLE

2: The departure airport process

READ THE ARTICLE

3: The Changi Airport arrival process

READ THE ARTICLE

4: Day 3 and Day 7 swab tests

READ THE ARTICLE

1: Getting a pre-departure COVID-19 test

READ THE ARTICLE

2: The departure airport process

READ THE ARTICLE

3: The Changi Airport arrival process

READ THE ARTICLE

4: Day 3 and Day 7 swab tests

READ THE ARTICLE

Summary

It’s great to see Switzerland added to the list of VTL countries offering two-way quarantine-free travel from 8th November, with Singapore Airlines offering a daily flight in both directions.

We await further details of potential extra VTL flight options with Swiss International Air Lines on this route, and will update both this article and our full list of designated VTL flights once we receive any information.

Unfortunately the Australia VTL is a one-way arrangement at the moment, with Singapore welcoming Australian residents for a trip here, but no reciprocation yet in the opposite direction.

Beach huts in Melbourne. (Photo: Con Karampelas)

Don’t be too down-heartened though, with students and business visitors likely to be added to the Singapore – Australia eligibility list from 23rd November and international visitors sometime in December.

That should give all of us a quarantine-free trip in time to make the most of the Australian summer, while Singapore’s existing quarantine-free arrangements are with countries fast heading into colder weather over the coming months!

Ultimately these new additions will help Singapore rebuild its global aviation hub status, and we certainly look forward to more countries and regions being added to the quarantine-free list.

(Cover Photo: Shutterstock)

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13 comments

  1. Swiss VTL starts from 8th of November, how does the 14 day travel history rule apply here? My understanding is that if one takes the very first VTL out of Switzerland, the passenger has spent 14 days not in the VTL region, or am I reading this wrong?

    1. No problem. If you have been in Switzerland for the last 14 days you can take the first VTL flight to Singapore if you wish (even though Switzerland was non-VTL during that 14-day period).

    1. You never know but the โ€˜Merchant Banker Expressโ€™ (SQ345/346) was always heavily dependent on business travellers, who arenโ€™t coming back in the same volumes yet. Maybe a 77W first?

      1. Things may be re-bound faster than you think. IB is going back to in person and office work as opposed to remote…you simply cannot do deals via zoom. Life sciences, which is big in CH, will start travelling next year. And guess where they have their regional APAC HQs? That’s right, SG. Knowing that industry I can assure you there will be a spike in intercontinental travel come next year. The two industries (finance and pharma) likely to travel again make up the large bulk of CH-SG business travel. The “merchants banker express”, as such, should be safe. However, post-Covid may have altered the attractiveness of some routes…perhaps making FRA more lucrative. But the latter is mere speculation.

  2. Hi! Any idea if PCR test taken in downtown Zurich/other parts of Switzerland is recognized for VTL to Singapore? Or can the PCR only be taken at Zurich airport?

    1. A PCR test taken at any GPs, hospitals, or specially set up test centres in Switzerland are accepted. You’ll need to take the test no more than 48 hours before the departure time of SQ345 to Singapore (10:35am).

      You can even take the test in another VTL country if you are flying in just to take the SQ345 VTL flight.

      1. Thank you for your reply!

        Opening a VTL route to Switzerland is just so tempting, I’m seriously considering it.

        On the side note, are there particular place(s) you can think of that does PCR in Zurich?

    1. Yes that 52,000 miles rate is actually for mixed class bookings between Perth and Zones 1, 2 and 3 (e.g. PER-SIN-MNL), but you would be in Business on the Perth leg and First on the other. It’s a bit misleading for the purposes of this article so I removed it!

      1. Ah OK, understand now. Just wanted to make sure SIA hadn’t started running a 3 class service from Perth. I got all excited for a moment ๐Ÿ˜‚

  3. I don’t believe this statement is correct: “Australia does not accept mixing of approved vaccines (e.g. first shot AstraZeneca, second shot Pfizer).”

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