Coronavirus: Aviation sector welcomes easing of curbs in Singapore

The Changi Airport Terminal 3 transit area on June 23, 2020.
The Changi Airport Terminal 3 transit area on June 23, 2020.ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN

Aviation stakeholders yesterday welcomed the decision to ease border restrictions for travellers from Brunei and New Zealand, noting that it was an important step for recovery of the air travel sector.

They also committed to working together with the relevant agencies to ensure that the travel process is safe for both staff and travellers.

The Singapore Airlines (SIA) Group - which comprises SIA, SilkAir and Scoot - said the recovery of air travel and airfreight is a necessary catalyst for the recovery of global trade and economies severely impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

It will continue to monitor the demand for international air travel and adjust its capacity accordingly.

"Today's announcement is an important step towards the gradual rebuilding of the Singapore air hub," a spokesman said yesterday.

"The SIA Group will continue to work closely with the Singapore Government and all stakeholders to support this."

Changi Airport Group spokesman Ivan Tan said the announcement is an encouraging start to what the airport hopes will be a gradual resumption of air travel to and from Singapore.

"We look forward to welcoming tourists and leisure visitors to Singapore again, and promise a smooth and comfortable airport experience for all of them," he said.

Mr Alex Hungate, president and chief executive of ground handling firm Sats, said it will ensure that safety guidelines are implemented.

"In this way, we hope to help restore confidence in air travel while ensuring that the Changi experience remains the best in the world," he said.

Industry group International Air Transport Association (Iata), which represents airlines worldwide, said that the opening of borders and the lifting of travel restrictions such as quarantine are key to helping the aviation sector recover.

 
 
 

It had forecast that air travel demand will not return to last year's levels until 2024.

Iata regional vice-president for Asia-Pacific Conrad Clifford praised Singapore's measures in helping the sector so far.

He added: "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.

"We urge other states in the region to look at ways to resume international travel safely, including through the implementation of travel bubbles."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 22, 2020, with the headline 'Aviation sector welcomes easing of curbs'. Print Edition | Subscribe