Passengers will now be required to wear a face mask onboard any Singapore Airlines and SilkAir flights in a bid to reduce the spread of the coronavirus. Effective from 23:59 on May 10th, all passengers on board are required to bring their own masks and wear them throughout the flight, on top of other strict social distancing measures.
Singapore Airlines’ (SIA) and its regional wing, SilkAir, join a slew of airlines that have implemented mandatory mask-wearing measures. Although most airlines have chosen to distribute complimentary face masks on the plane, SIA’s bring-your-own rule is akin to that of Southeast Asian carrier, AirAsia.
New rules onboard
In new rules announced by Singapore’s civil aviation authorities, safe-distancing measures will be enforced during embarking and disembarking, as well as when queuing for the lavatory mid-flight.
On top of that, a verbal health declaration and temperature checks will be carried out for each passenger before boarding, resembling a basic health assessment.
The carrier has also mentioned a change to their inflight meal regulations. Amid the coronavirus outbreak, flights within South East Asia or to China will have its meals suspended.
According to SIA’s statement, “A snack bag with water and refreshments will be provided upon boarding instead.” Meals on flights to distant destinations, however, will not be affected.
“These measures are in addition to the existing precautionary measures that SIA and SilkAir have in place to safeguard the wellbeing of our customers and crew,” said the carrier in a statement on its website.
Additionally, a report by Channel News Asia states that SIA’s cabin crew have been donning masks since 9th March. Additionally, cabin crew will be made to put on goggles or eye visors to minimize contact. A temperature check will also be mandatory for all crew.
Heightened cleaning process and precautionary measures
The airline does recognize that mask-wearing and temperature checks may not be enough, and has stepped up its cleaning processes as a result.
For instance, the airline has implemented hospital-grade High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters, where 99.99% of airborne microbes will be expertly filtered.
“Cabin air circulation is continuous, and the air is refreshed every 2-3 minutes (or 20-30 times hourly). All of this provides a safer and more comfortable environment for passengers,” explained the carrier in an earlier statement.
The airline has gone a step further and removed its hot towel service. Furthermore, menu cards and other seatback literature are being sacrificed.
April 9th was when the carrier started enforcing rigorous cleaning measures. Windows, tray tables, handsets, inflight entertainment screens, lavatories, and galleys are regularly wiped down after every flight. Headsets, headrest covers, and blankets are replaced as well.
Most flights canceled in May
A measure that was due to end in April, it seems that the airline will have to continue grounding 96% of its fleet, as flight cancellations continue.
The Straits Times reported that the airline has been struggling to resume operations this month. Flights will only be heading to 15 cities currently, as opposed to 140 destinations formerly.
Passenger numbers are declining rapidly and SIA is experiencing budget constraints resulting in its first full-year loss. However, it remains heartening to see the airline ensuring the safety and wellbeing of its passengers. Undoubtedly, some measures will become the new norm even after the corona-crisis subsides.
What do you make of Singapore Airlines’ mandatory BYO mask rule? Is this an effective approach? Let us know what you think in the comment section.