SIA, SilkAir passengers can book pre-departure tests online

The one-stop online portal is currently only available for Singapore Airlines and SilkAir flights from Singapore, Jakarta and Medan, but the portal will be expanded to more cities if proven successful.
The one-stop online portal is currently only available for Singapore Airlines and SilkAir flights from Singapore, Jakarta and Medan, but the portal will be expanded to more cities if proven successful.ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN

Passengers of Singapore Airlines (SIA) and SilkAir flying out of Singapore, Jakarta and Medan will now be able to book pre-departure Covid-19 tests and receive their results via a one-stop online portal.

The pilot programme launched yesterday is the SIA Group's latest effort to restore confidence in international travel, which has been decimated by the pandemic.

If proven successful, the portal will be expanded to more cities in SIA and SilkAir's network over the next few months, the airline said in a statement.

With the new portal, passengers can choose from a list of recognised testing facilities and book appointments for pre-departure Covid-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and serology tests, up to 48 hours before their required testing window.

Their test results will be delivered to them within 36 hours via the same portal. Passengers can then present these results when checking in at the airport.

Airport check-in staff and Singapore immigration authorities can use an accompanying QR code to authenticate the results, SIA said.

This is part of a digital health verification process that SIA has been trialling since December last year, based on the International Air Transport Association's Travel Pass framework.

Passengers can present their test results for manual verification by immigration authorities in other cities, said an SIA spokesman in response to queries.

The new portal will also be able to house digital health passes documenting a passenger's Covid-19 status, SIA said.

The pilot programme for the portal will run for about two months, added the SIA spokesman.

Mr Todd Handcock, president for Asia-Pacific at Collinson Group, which is working with SIA on the portal, said it will enable the safe reopening of key routes for travellers.

"While there's optimism that the roll-out of vaccines will help bring an end to the pandemic, there remains a complex road ahead.

"In order to restore confidence in travel, the implementation of safe and robust testing protocols remains key," he added.

Ms JoAnn Tan, SIA's senior vice-president for marketing planning, said the portal will give SIA and SilkAir passengers a more streamlined booking experience.

"Piloting this one-stop pre-departure test is part of our ongoing efforts to provide passengers with a vital service during this time, as well as a more seamless pre-flight experience," she said.

Currently, most travellers flying into Singapore have to take a Covid-19 test within 72 hours of their flight to prove they are not infected. The majority of outbound flights from Singapore also require a negative result from a PCR test done within 72 hours of the flight.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 21, 2021, with the headline 'SIA, SilkAir passengers can book pre-departure tests online'. Subscribe