Singapore announced it will relax border measures starting 1 September to allow general travel to and from Brunei and New Zealand, after taking into account low-risk countries where the virus situation is under control.
Foreign visitors from both nations will be subject to a Covid-19 test upon arrival, in lieu of a stay–home notice (SHN), according to the Ministry of Health, whilst those travelling to the two countries will be subject to requirements imposed by corresponding authorities.
Meanwhile, for travellers from other low-risk countries, such as Australia (excluding Victoria), Macao, China, Taiwan, Vietnam, and Malaysia, the SHN will still be required but the duration has been shortened from 14 days to 7 days.
With losses of up to US$29.0 billion expected for Asia Pacific’s airlines, Singapore Airlines (SIA), the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and the Association of Asia Pacific Airline (AAPA) expressed their support to the lion city’s decision following the announcement.
Conrad Clifford, IATA’s regional vice president for Asia Pacific, urges other states in the region to look at ways to resume international travel safely, including through the implementation of travel bubbles.
“The impact of Covid-19 is unprecedented and the airline industry is on life support. The additional financial measures announced by Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat earlier this week is a big help and greatly appreciated by the industry. And the recent remarks by Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung is reassuring and a breath of fresh air as the government clearly recognizes aviation’s strategic contribution to the Singapore economy. Having a viable aviation industry will be critical to economic recovery by ensuring effective connectivity with the rest of the world for the movement of people and goods,” said Clifford.
AAPA’s General Director, Subhas Menon, on the other hand, said, “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.”
Meanwhile, SIA Group has put measures in place to ensure the health and safety of customers and staff as well as the communities where it operates. Accounting for more than half of the passengers flying in and out of Changi Airport last year (35.8 million passengers), the Group said that the easing of border restrictions is an important step towards the gradual rebuilding of the Singapore air hub.
“The recovery of air travel and airfreight is a necessary catalyst for the recovery of global trade and economies severely impacted by Covid-19,” it added.