Several foreign airlines have reportedly been allowed to recommence stopovers in Singapore. The news comes shortly after the country’s flag carrier, Singapore Airlines, restarted its own transit services. The Singaporean government had initially banned certain short-term visitors, including transit passengers, last month.
Re-opening for foreign transit passengers
According to The Straits Times, the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) has granted certain foreign airlines permission to resume transit flights to Changi Airport (SIN). The publication has collected data to suggest that “at least three airlines have resumed ferrying transit passengers this month.”
The carriers in question are reportedly Garuda Indonesia, German flag carrier Lufthansa, and SWISS. These airlines serve Singapore from the following destinations.
- Garuda Indonesia – Denpasar/Bali (DPS), Jakarta–Soekarno-Hatta (CGK) and Surabaya Juanda (SUB).
- Lufthansa – Frankfurt International (FRA) and Munich (MUC).
- SWISS – Zürich (ZRH).
However, not all of these routes are presently operational, and those that are are subject to reduced frequencies. For example, Lufthansa’s website shows that it is currently operating a weekly service every Tuesday from Frankfurt to Singapore.
Numbered LH778, it operates this flight, which lasts 12 hours and 45 minutes, with the Airbus A340-300. The return flight, LH779, runs every Friday. The Munich flights, meanwhile, do not currently appear to be operating.
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Singapore Airlines had already resumed
As the country’s flag carrier, Singapore Airlines had already been able to recommence its stopover services earlier this year. On New Year’s Day, the airline announced that it had received approval to resume its transit flights from London Heathrow to Sydney and Auckland via Singapore. However, this was under certain special conditions.
For example, passengers have to remain onboard the aircraft during its stopover in Singapore. This is due to the new coronavirus strain recently detected in the UK. Data collected by Simple Flying at the time suggested that the aircraft stayed on the ground for around two-and-a-half hours at Changi.
Previous transit bans
The ban in December was not the first time last year that transiting was prohibited in Singapore. Indeed, the first instance of such a measure being implemented occurred in April last year. This significantly hurt flag carrier Singapore Airlines, for whom Changi is a crucial world hub. The aforementioned London-Australia and New Zealand services are just two of the airline’s many long-haul routes that converge in Singapore.
The following month, the country announced that stopovers could resume in June. However, rather than immediately reopening to all carriers, it elected to assess each flight on a case-by-case basis. The list of permitted territories grew further in August, although Canada, India, and the US were conspicuously absent.
At its peak, as many as 55,000 passengers used to transit at Singapore Changi every day. While those sorts of numbers will not be returning any time soon, this latest announcement does represent a step in the right direction.
What do you make of the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore’s decision to allow foreign carriers to resume stopover services? Have you ever transited at Singapore Changi Airport before? Let us know your thoughts and experiences in the comments.