Singapore Ups Safety Requirements For Air Crew

The Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) has upped the safety requirements for aircrew after two crew members arrived in the country with COVID-19. The new rules will see crew having to undergo more PCR tests and additional strict layover regulations.

Singapore Airlines, COVID-19 Crew Requirements
Singapore has increased restrictions for aircrew. Photo: Getty Images

Around the world, strict measures remain in place to stop importing new COVID-19 cases. This has seen the likes of Australia and New Zealand closing their borders to all but a handful of arrivals. Other countries, such as the United Arab Emirates, require a negative COVID-19 test to enter the country.

New Singapore rules

According to the CAAS, during flights, crew members must use a face mask at all times during a flight. Additionally, they should use goggles when interacting with passengers. The crew should have separate onboard toilets where possible and should each be allocated to a specific part of the aircraft.

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When the crew arrives at a destination airport, they have been instructed not to leave the aircraft unless essential. For example, if a pilot checks the outside of the aircraft or undergo health or security screening required by their destination. If the crew must have a layover, they need dedicated transportation to the hotel, which they must not leave. The crew must also not interact with locals. That is to say, meals should be left outside their hotel room, not handed over.

Singapore Airlines, COVID-19 Crew Requirements
The crew must avoid leaving the plane unless necessary and must reduce contacts if on a layover. Photo: Getty Images

The CAAS has drafted additional rules for those flying to South Africa. They need to wear full PPE (masks, face shield, gowns, and gloves), as required on flights to and from the UK since December 24th.

All crew arriving back into Singapore will be required to undergo PCR testing upon arrival. So far, only the two cases prompting the rule change have been detected from 22,500 tests. Those arriving from high-risk destinations must isolate for seven days and take a PCR test on arrival and three and seven days after arriving.

Why the new rules?

The new rules are being brought in after two aircrew members tested positive for COVID-19 in the space of a couple of days. Firstly, a cabin crew member returning on the world’s longest flight from New York to Singapore on December 16th tested positive on December 27th following two inconclusive tests on the 23rd and 25th.

Air Astana, Airbus A321LR, The Maldives
Three tests will be needed at various points after traveling from a high-risk destination. Photo: Getty Images

Secondly, a pilot returning to Singapore on SQ317 from London on December 22nd tested positive. He underwent a test on December 23rd that came back negative on December 25th. Following the development of symptoms, he took a second test on December 27th, which returned positive on December 29th. The CAAS states that the pilot had no contact with passengers and that his only contact was with immigration officials and hotel staff.

What do you make of the new rules for Singaporean aircrew? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!