Singapore Flyer operating again after receiving go-ahead

Passengers riding the Singapore Flyer on April 1, 2018. ST PHOTO: GAVIN FOO
Tourists walking past the Singapore flyer on April 1, 2018. ST PHOTO: GAVIN FOO
Tourists queueing up to buy tickets for the Singapore Flyer, on April 1, 2018. ST PHOTO: GAVIN FOO
Passengers on board one of the Singapore Flyer's capsules, after the attraction was reopened for business on April 1, 2018. ST PHOTO: GAVIN FOO
Visitors walking outside the Singapore Flyer, after it reopened for business, on April 1, 2018. ST PHOTO: GAVIN FOO

SINGAPORE - The Singapore Flyer reopened for business on Sunday (April 1) following a two-month hiatus.

The 10-year-old attraction was forced to suspend operations after a "technical issue" on Jan 25 this year required all 61 passengers onboard to be brought to the ground.

It is understood the problem was traced to a glitch in the mechanism which allows the wheel to rotate. Located at the base of the wheel, it did not affect the observation wheel or any of its 28 capsules structurally.

Singapore Flyer announced on Saturday (March 31) that it had received approvals from the relevant authorities to resume operations, and that the "necessary safety checks and tests have been carried out to the satisfaction of the Building and Constructions Authority (BCA)".

A Singapore Flyer spokesman said tenants, as well as travel agents and other partner organisations, were informed that same day of the reopening.

"The first week may see a slight dip in visitor numbers, but we expect the number to resume fairly quickly to normal," she said.

The Straits Times visited the attraction on Sunday (April 1) at 11am. Tour buses were lined up at the entrance and visitors had already formed queues for a ride in one of the 165m-high structure's 28 capsules.

Factory manager Gary Luscombe, on a holiday with his wife and two friends, was disappointed when he heard the Flyer was closed on his first day of a three-day trip to Singapore.

But the 64-year-old Australian was there on Sunday morning after reading that the wheel was turning again.

"It would have been terrible if we had found out it had reopened only after we got on the plane (at the end of the trip)," he said.

His wife, 61-year-old bank officer Ann Luscombe added: "(The authorities) wouldn't have allowed it to re-open if they didn't think it was safe."

Businesses located at the Flyer's base are hopeful that footfall will increase with the reopening.

Mr Rajender Kumar Bhandari - the director of Bhandari's Saffron, a restaurant located on the second floor of the Flyer's base - said business dipped during the flyer's closure, from an average of about 400 customers a day to fewer than 200.

But he said the Flyer's management helped during the downturn by slashing rental costs. They also printed posters and flyers to promote the restaurant.

"I really have to say a big thank you to the management. They were excellent landlords during this time," said Mr Bhandari.

Staff at Kenko Reflexology and Fish Spa said business has improved. During the hiatus, they did not have a single customer on some days.

Mr Sam Al-Schamma, the managing director of flight simulator attraction Flight Experience, joked his staff enjoyed a two-month "siesta" during the Flyer's closure, but said they are looking forward to welcoming customers with the Flyer's reopening.

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