Coronavirus pandemic

Coronavirus: Changi Airport sets up new transit holding areas

Safety remains top priority, says CAG, as it gears up to resume transit passenger services

The new transit holding area in Terminal 1. Safety measures include regular deep cleaning and disinfection, said CAG. PHOTO: CHANGI AIRPORT GROUP
The new transit holding area in Terminal 1. Safety measures include regular deep cleaning and disinfection, said CAG. PHOTO: CHANGI AIRPORT GROUP

Changi Airport has set up new transit holding areas in Terminals 1 and 3 as it prepares for the gradual resumption of transit passenger services, which were suspended when Singapore imposed border restrictions amid the coronavirus pandemic.

This is even as the health and safety of passengers and staff remain the top priority, Changi Airport Group (CAG) told The Straits Times after Singapore Airlines (SIA) confirmed that it has received approval to start operating transit flights.

In an update on its website, SIA said that as of yesterday, travellers are able to transit through Changi Airport from selected cities in Australia and New Zealand to any destination in SIA's group network operated by SIA, SilkAir or Scoot.

The transit flights are only for outbound journeys from Australian cities Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney, as well as New Zealand cities Auckland and Christchurch.

Passengers will not be able to transit from other places in SIA group's network via Singapore into these cities, it added.

Transfers to and from flights operated by other airlines are currently not permitted.

Passengers should ensure that they meet the entry requirements for their final destination.

"In line with regulatory requirements, transit and non-transit passengers will be kept apart at Changi Airport. This is to ensure the health and safety of our customers and staff," the carrier said.

CAG told ST that upon arrival, passengers flying through Changi will be guided to the transit areas, which will be open only for transit passengers and authorised airport staff.

Temperatures will be taken at the entrance of the holding areas, and they will be deep cleaned and disinfected regularly, said CAG.

Transit passengers waiting for their connecting flights must wear a face mask and follow safe distancing markers, while airport staff working in the holding areas must use a face mask, face shield and gloves.

Passengers will also get amenities including "comfortable seating, snooze areas, light entertainment and a play area", the airport said.

They will be able to purchase light meals, snacks and drinks on-site. They can also make tax-free purchases with the help of a shopping concierge service and have their shopping delivered to them safely.

Prior to the announcements, foreign passengers were allowed to transit through Singapore only if they were on repatriation flights arranged by their governments.

Air traffic here has plummeted since March 23, when all short-term visitors from anywhere in the world were disallowed entry to or transit through Singapore.

However, there are signs of recovery as countries start to ease out of lockdowns and the air travel sector starts the road to recovery.

Singapore is also looking at green lane agreements with selected countries, with the first - a "fast lane" between Singapore and China - announced on May 29.

For transfer lanes through Changi Airport, the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore has invi-ted airlines to submit their proposals, which will be evaluated based on aviation safety, public health considerations as well as the health of passengers and aircrew, CAG said yesterday.

Correction note: The article has been edited for clarity.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 12, 2020, with the headline Coronavirus: Changi Airport sets up new transit holding areas. Subscribe