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Mon, 24 August 2020

Singapore to Ease Air Travel Restrictions

IATA and the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA) have welcomed Singapores announcement on the easing of border measures for entry into the country.

Singapore's Ministry of Health (MOH) announced on Friday that it will update its travel advisory to allow travel to Brunei and New Zealand, as well as travel for overseas studies. The MOH has also stated that some travellers from those two countries will be able to take a COVID19 test upon arrival in Singapore instead of doing quarantine. The quarantine duration, or Stay-Home Notice (SHN) as it is called in Singapore, is also being reduced from 14 days to 7 days for travellers from low risk countries, including: Australia (excluding Victoria State), Macao, Mainland China, Taiwan, Vietnam, and Malaysia. Changes will be effective from 1 September 2020, for all travellers entering or departing Singapore.

Travellers are advised to check entry restrictions of their destination country. New Zealand's borders, for example, remain closed to all but residents and a travel advisory is in place advising against travel outside of the country.

Arrivals sign at Changi Airport in Singapore. Picture by Steven Howard of TravelNewsAsia.com Click to enlarge.

Conrad Clifford, IATAs Regional Vice President for Asia-Pacific, said, COVID19 has dealt a massive blow to the airline industry and the road to recovery is going to be long and slow. Our latest forecast indicates that travel demand will not return to 2019 levels until 2024, a year later than had been previously expected. Key to the recovery is the opening of borders and the lifting of travel restrictions and measures such as quarantine. Singapores announcement is positive and a step in the right direction. We hope to work closely with the government so that Singapores aviation industry can restart safely while mitigating the possibility of COVID19 transmission. And we urge other states in the region to look at ways to resume international travel safely, including through the implementation of travel bubbles.

Travellers entering Singapore and who have remained in either Brunei Darussalam or New Zealand in the last consecutive 14 days prior to their entry will not be required to serve a SHN. Instead, they will undergo a COVID19 test upon arrival at the airport and only be allowed to go about their activities in Singapore after receiving a negative test result.

Prior to travelling to Singapore, visitors from Brunei Darussalam and New Zealand will need to apply for an Air Travel Pass (ATP) between 7 and 30 days before their intended date of entry into Singapore. They will be responsible for their medical bills should they require medical treatment for COVID19 while in Singapore. Applications for the ATP will start from 1 September 2020 for travel from 8 September 2020.

Returning Singapore Citizens, Permanent Residents and Long-Term Pass holders will similarly not have to serve SHN and will undergo a COVID19 test upon arrival. They do not need to apply for an ATP.

The Director General of AAPA, Mr. Subhas Menon, has also welcomed the news, saying, "Singapore's unilateral opening of its borders to travellers from Brunei and New Zealand is a very important step in the right  direction. Cross border travel has been stalled ever since March 2020 in the Asia Pacific region. The Association of Asia Pacific Airlines applauds the Singapore Government's efforts to restart air travel in a safe yet progressive way. Adopting a testing regime without onerous quarantine requirements sets a standard worth emulating in facilitating air travel and economic recovery in the region. Asia Pacific airlines are committed to working closely with governments across the region to explore further initiatives to reopen international air travel corridors, based on objective risk assessments in conjunction with the relevant public health authorities."

The global airline industry is expected to lose US$84.3 billion in 2020, with airlines in the Asia Pacific region forecast to post the largest absolute losses at US$29 billion. Global passenger numbers are expected to decline by 55% compared to 2019.

See latest Travel News, Video Interviews, Podcasts and other news regarding: COVID19, IATA, AAPA, Singapore.

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