Commercial flights between Singapore and India could be resuming in the coming days after nearly two years of suspensions. The news comes as India will soon become a part of Singapore’s Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) scheme, allowing for quarantine-free travel from 29th November. Let’s find out more.
Back on the map
According to Mint, Singapore and India’s Ministry of External Affairs and Civil Aviation are in talks to restart international flights between the countries. While flights have been suspended since March 2020, Air India has been flying regular “repatriation” flights between the nations under the Vande Bharat Mission.
However, the landscape is changing now, and Singapore is back on the map. Starting 29th November, India will be a part of the VTL scheme, allowing vaccinated travelers to enter with no quarantine and only on-arrival testing. Likewise, India has lifted quarantines for those vaccinated in Singapore.
However, without commercial flights, capacity remains limited. Under a new deal, Singapore is pushing for six daily flights from India, two from Delhi, Mumbai, and Chennai each. It’s unclear which airlines will receive the lucrative routes, but Air India and Singapore Airlines are the likely picks.
With international commercial flights from India remains banned technically, Singapore will have to enter into a “travel bubble” agreement instead. This will allow flights to resume between the countries to resume normally but also impose restrictions on foreign carriers. For instance, Indian nationals cannot take connecting flights under the rules.
However, given the busy traffic between the countries, airlines will be excited about the border reopening. While six daily flights might be the beginning, low-cost airlines will be pushing for more services in the near future. With no quarantine on either side, expect tens of thousands of passengers begin to fly by the end of the month.
The timing of the potential agreement comes as External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar is currently in Singapore, with connectivity one of the topics under discussion. Expect to see further development in the coming days as the VTL opening draws ever closer. Notably, Singapore has to designate select VTL flights before passengers can fly.
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Singapore has quickly gone from having a closed border to leading the reopening of travel in Southeast Asia. The VTL scheme allows for quarantine-free travel to Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, the UK, and the US. From 29th November, India and Indonesia will join the list, followed by Qatar, the UAE, and Saudi Arabia on 6th December.
Additionally, flights between Malaysia and Singapore, the busiest international route in the world, have resumed under a VTL. For now, it looks like travel is getting back to normal in Singapore and carriers are seeing positive results.
What do you think about the resumption of flights to Singapore from India? Let us know in the comments!