Singapore Airlines Asks Crew To Wear Tracking Devices On Layovers

Airline crew are prohibited from moving freely in many places in the world. Singapore Airlines crew members are forbidden to leave their hotel rooms on layovers. To make sure they comply with regulations, the carrier is now requesting that they wear a tracking device for the duration of their stay.

Singapore Airlines, COVID-19 Crew Requirements
Singapore Airlines now requires its crew to wear tracking devices on layovers. Photo: Getty Images

There has been an array of incidents with airline crew as a result of COVID precaution regulations. A KLM flight attendant was arrested in Singapore for leaving their hotel room in mid-December.

An EVA Air pilot was fired after bringing the virus back to Taiwan from the US and failing to comply with the authorities’ track-and-trace efforts just before Christmas. There is also the infamous case of China requesting that flight attendants wear nappies on board to avoid using the lavatory.

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No interaction amongst themselves

In the latest bid to stop the chance of any imported COVID cases to the city-state, Singapore Airlines is increasing its employee surveillance. According to The Straits Times, flight crew from the airline that need to stay overseas will have to wear a tracking device.

This is reportedly to make certain that they comply with a rule requiring them to remain in their hotel rooms at all times. They are also prohibited from physically interacting with one another during the layover period.

“If you fly for 16 to 18 hours to reach New York then have to stay in a room alone, it can be quite tough… but the crew understand that this is necessary,” Alan Tan, President of the Singapore Airlines Staff Union, commented.

“There are some concerns about the imported cases from overseas on flights, but it is part of our job. Crew members can take leave if they are not comfortable to fly,” he continued, further adding that flight crew had thus far been compliant with the rules.

Singapore Airlines, COVID-19 Crew Requirements
The airline’s crew is also prohibited from physically interacting with each other while abroad. Photo: Getty Images

Onboard social distancing

These regulations come on the heels of a package of rules for airline crew from the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) that came into effect just before the new year. To adhere to the social distancing requirements, Singapore Airlines flight attendants must not congregate in the galleys, stagger mealtimes, and remain in their allocated work area of the aircraft.
They must also keep apart during pre-flight briefings and their dedicated transportation from and to the airport. Beyond the mandatory in-flight face mask, goggles and gloves are prescribed for interaction with passengers. On flights from the UK and South Africa, full PPE – including N95 masks and protective gowns, are mandatory. 
Singapore Airlines A350
Singapore Airlines crew must take three PCR tests after flights from high-risk areas. Photo: Vincenzo Pace |

Three tests and seven days of isolation

When returning to Singapore, crew must head straight to their homes following an initial PCR test. If arriving from a high-risk area, they must isolate while for at least seven days. They must then take three separate PCR-tests – one when arriving, another after three days, and the final after a week.
Thus far, only two cases have been reported where Singapore Airlines crew have tested positive for the virus. The first instance was a cabin crew member returning from New York on December 16th, and the second a pilot returning from London on December 22nd.
Simple Flying has reached out to Singapore Airlines for a comment but was yet to receive a response at the time of publication.
Do you think tracking devices are a reasonable request at a time like this? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.