News Singapore Airlines

Singapore Airlines restarting passenger flights to Beijing

After a near 3-year hiatus, Singapore Airlines will operate passenger services to Beijing once again from next week, as China moves towards border relaxations.

With relaxations in store for its international borders in the coming months, China is slowly allowing more international flight connections to be restored, with Singapore Airlines now confirming that it is reinstating passenger service to Beijing next week.

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The carrier has been operating cargo-only flights to and from the Chinese capital throughout the pandemic, and in late September 2022 it was allowed to upgrade one-way Beijing to Singapore services to carry passengers twice per week, using Airbus A350 Long Haul aircraft.

The opposite direction has been a different matter, however, with the route void of passenger services for nearly three years, despite Beijing allowing a limited number of international arrivals since July 2022.

Singapore – Beijing reinstated from 30th December

From 30th December 2022, Singapore Airlines will upgrade the outbound leg of its SQ802/807 Beijing flight to passenger service, operating fortnightly every other Friday.

The first regular SIA passenger flight from Singapore to Beijing for nearly three years will depart on 30th December 2022

Here’s how the (skeleton) schedule looks on this route.

Singapore Airlines
Singapore ⇄ Beijing Schedule
(30th December 2022 – 24th March 2023)

  Days
M T W T F S S
SQ802
A350 Long Haul
*
SIN
08:00
PEK
14:00
SQ807
A350 Long Haul
           
PEK
16:35
SIN
23:10
SQ807
A350 Long Haul
           
PEK
16:55
SIN
23:55

* Fortnightly (every other Friday)

SQ802 flights from Singapore to Beijing on Tuesdays (and on alternate Fridays) will operate as cargo-only services.

Singapore – Beijing flights will use Airbus A350 Long Haul aircraft with 2013 Business Class seats. (Photo: Sorbis / Shutterstock)

Prior to COVID-19, Singapore Airlines was operating 21 flights per week to and from Beijing, using four-class Airbus A380 and four-class Boeing 777-300ER aircraft, while Air China had a further 21 weekly services using Airbus A350-900 and Boeing 787-9 jets.

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Air China will also return to the Singapore – Beijing route, with a weekly passenger service every Monday from 9th January 2023, using Airbus A330s.

KrisFlyer redemptions

Only a few waitlist Saver awards in the Economy Class cabin have been loaded on the Singapore – Beijing route for now, which isn’t surprising given the very limited frequencies approved so far, and the airline’s likely desire to capitalise on revenue demand first.

Here are the one-way KrisFlyer award rates for the Singapore – Beijing route.

KrisFlyer Redemption
Singapore ⇄ Beijing
  Saver Advantage
Economy 21,500 40,000
Premium Economy 34,500 n/a
Business 43,000 65,000


 


 

Beijing is the Group’s 13th mainland China destination

While mainland China remains closed to visitors and tourists, authorities there have been allowing airlines like SIA and Scoot to operate to major cities on the network again, typically once per week, with some recent relaxations to twice per week.

Indeed this addition of Beijing back into the fold represents the group’s 13th regular passenger destination in mainland China, with the following services already running.

SIA Group China Flights
(Dec 2022 – Mar 2023)

Airline / City / Flight Number Aircraft Days
(ex-SIN)
Beijing
SQ802/807
A350 LH Alternate Fri
(0.5/wk)
Chengdu
SQ842/843
A350 LH Tue
(1/wk)
Chongqing
SQ814/815
787-10 Mon
(1/wk)
Shanghai
SQ830/833
A380
787-10
Mon, Sat
(2/wk)
Shenzhen
SQ846/847
A350 MH Wed, Sun
(2/wk)
Xiamen
SQ868/869
A350 MH Thu
(1/wk)
Fuzhou
TR174/175
A321neo Mon
(1/wk)
Guangzhou
TR100/101
787-8
787-9
Sun
(1/wk)
Hangzhou
TR188/189
787-8
787-9
Mon
(1/wk)
Nanjing
TR180/181
787-8
787-9
Thu, Sun
(2/wk)
Tianjin
TR138/139
787-8
787-9
Tue, Wed
(2/wk)
Wuhan
TR120/121
787-8
787-9
Thu
(1/wk)
Zhengzhou
TR116/117
787-8
787-9
A321neo
Wed
(1/wk)

When it comes to mainland China, only SIA passenger services to and from Guangzhou have yet to be reinstated, though Scoot is already offering service on this route.

Scoot was also flying to Changsha, Harbin, Jinan, Nanchang, Nanning, Ningbo, Shenyang, Wuxi, Xi’An, Haikou, Kunming and Qingdao prior to the pandemic, but has yet to reinstate these routes.

China is reopening

2023 should finally see China reopening to foreign visitors, as COVID-19 restrictions are now being relaxed with an apparent move from “Zero COVID” to “Living with COVID” in recent weeks, abandoning mandatory centralised quarantine, wide lockdowns and compulsory testing.

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The country even scrapped its COVID-19 tracking app last week, seen by many analysts as the backbone of its pandemic response measures.

China is still not yet open for tourists, however, with only Chinese nationals and foreign nationals holding residence permits or certain types of visa permitted to enter.

China currently imposes an eight day quarantine for those eligible to travel, in a “5 + 3” arrangement (recently relaxed from “7 + 3”), with:

  • 5 days of quarantine at a government-selected facility or hotel
  • 3 days of quarantine at home or suitable accommodation

A negative PCR test within 48 hours of departure to China is required, plus a number of PCR tests during the hotel quarantine period.

Beijing. (Photo: Zhang Kaiyv)

However, just yesterday reports started to circulate that a significant relaxation to a possible “0 + 3” arrangement may be on the cards as early as January 2023, which would no doubt pave the way for tourist visits to China in due course.

This will probably start with visitors from and from Hong Kong, before expanding to a truly international reopening.

“I don’t think the mainland [China] government will relax everything in one go. Adopting ‘0+3’, scrapping the daily quota and [hotel] quarantine are more practical things that we hope can be achieved soon.”

Ben Chan, Hong Kong Legislative Council
22nd December 2022

Once those things happen, flight caps will no doubt be progressively relaxed and airlines like SIA and Scoot can truly ramp up towards pre-COVID frequencies to and from China next year.

Recently Hong Kong adopted a “0 + 3” arrangement of sorts for international travellers, which has relatively quickly now progressed to a more tourist-friendly “0 + 0” policy, with no movement restrictions.