Singapore Increases Transit Network

Singapore Airlines passengers from an additional eight cities across three countries will now be allowed to transit in Singapore. It adds to a small but growing list of countries and airports Singapore Airlines and its subsidiaries can uplift passengers from and funnel through its hub. The decision is another step towards normality for the beleaguered airline group.

Passengers from three more countries can now transit through Singapore’s Changi Airport. Photo: Singapore Airlines Newsroom

Neighboring countries get the tick of approval

Passengers on inbound Singapore Airlines flights from Bangkok can now transit in Singapore. Likewise, passengers on inbound Scoot flights from Ipoh, Kuching, Kuala Lumpur, and Penang in Malaysia will now be able to transit in Singapore. Silk Air and Singapore Airlines flights from Kuala Lumpur also get the tick of approval.

Finally, three cities in Indonesia join the list. Passengers on Silk Air flights from Medan, Scoot flights from Surabaya, and Singapore Airlines flights from Jakarta, can all now transit through Singapore.

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Passengers from these airports join passengers from selected cities across Australia, China, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Hong Kong, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, Thailand, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and Vietnam as cleared to transit through Singapore’s Changi Airport.

Notably absent from the list are countries such as Canada, the United States, and India.

Passengers from a small but growing number of countries can now transit in Singapore. Photo: Singapore Airlines Newsroom

Business is still way down at Singapore’s Changi Airport

Singapore has progressively relaxed its ban on transit passengers since June. But only around 400 passengers are transiting through Changi Airport each day. It’s a far cry from this time 12 months ago. Then, about 55,000 passengers each day would transit through Singapore Airport.

Currently, Singapore’s Changi Airport is handling about 150 aircraft movements a day, compared to the 1,000 odd movements it would usually see. The bulk of passengers on those planes are returning Singaporeans or people leaving Singapore.

Silk Air, along with Scoot and Singapore Airlines can now bring passengers into Singapore to transit. Photo: Aero Icarus via Flickr.

Transit restrictions in force

Meanwhile, for citizens of those countries given the green light to transit through Singapore, it’s not business as usual. There are certain restrictions.

If traveling one way through Singapore, you must be flying out from an approved city. You cannot fly in from, say, India, transit in Singapore, and then continue on to Jakarta. You can transit in Singapore and continue onto Jakarta only if your origin airport is on the approved list.

Likewise, return flights must involve origin and final destination airports that are both on the approved list. You cannot travel Sydney to Mumbai via Singapore and return, but you can travel Sydney to Paris via Singapore and return.

Singapore remains open to all Singapore citizens and permanent residents. Anyone else wanting to enter Singapore (as opposed to transiting through) must obtain approval before traveling. Authorities may grant authorization to long-term visit pass holders and student’s pass holders, work pass holders, essential business travelers, and those with extenuating circumstances.

If travel is approved, passengers will receive a letter of approval. This must get produced upon check-in at your departure city and to the immigration officer upon your arrival in Singapore.

All incoming passengers, including Singapore citizens and permanent residents, must submit an electronic health declaration within three days before arrival in Singapore.

Regular tourist travel to Singapore remains off-limits. But Singapore is gradually unwinding its blanket travel bans. Next off the blocks for permission to transit through Singapore are citizens from Turkey, Cambodia, and Taiwan. They’ll have the tick of approval from August 26, September 1, and September 2, respectively.