Coronavirus: Singapore

Six airlines to operate VTL flights between S'pore, KL

There will be six designated services in each direction from Nov 29

Travellers will be able to choose from six designated services in each direction when the Malaysia-Singapore quarantine-free air travel scheme kicks off on Nov 29.

AirAsia, Jetstar Asia, Malaysia Airlines, Malindo Air, Scoot and Singapore Airlines (SIA) will operate these services, the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) said yesterday.

Applications for the Singapore-Malaysia Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) scheme will start on Monday, said CAAS.

According to Malaysia's immigration authority, there will be no limit on the capacity and aircraft type for the planes operating the designated services between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur.

The reopening covers only air travel and does not include land travel via the Causeway or Se-cond Link.

Long-term pass holders and short-term visitors looking to enter Singapore can apply for a pass to tap the VTL from 10am on Monday.

But Singapore citizens, permanent residents and children under the age of 12 do not have to apply.

Passengers will have to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19 with a vaccine that is recognised by the health authorities in both countries. But children under 12 years old will qualify without the need to show proof of vaccination.

According to a document published on the Immigration Department of Malaysia's website, both Malaysia and Singapore can amend the requirements for travel under this arrangement by giving written notice to the other party at least 48 hours in advance.

Under the scheme, travellers landing at Changi Airport will have to self-isolate after leaving the airport and wait up to 24 hours for the results of their Covid-19 on arrival polymerase chain reaction (PCR) swab test.

But those landing in KL Inter-national Airport will likely be able to get their swab test results within one to three hours. They will have to wait for the results at a designated waiting area before immigration.

Additional services and other new entry/exit points can be added on upon mutual agreement.

Travellers entering Singapore under the VTL scheme do not have to serve a stay-home notice. Instead, they will be required to test negative for Covid-19 two days prior to departure for Singapore, as well as upon arrival.

Travellers can submit a negative test result from either a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) swab test or a professionally administered antigen rapid test.

Upon arrival, they will be required to take a PCR test, and can go about their activities if they test negative.

The Singapore-Kuala Lumpur air route was among the busiest in the world before the Covid-19 pandemic struck, with about 40 flights daily and an average of 7,000 arrivals per day at Changi Airport.

Transport Minister S. Iswaran said in a Facebook post that the VTLs between Malaysia and Singapore are an important step in reopening borders between two close neighbours. "We are also in advanced discussions with Malaysia on restoring land travel across the Causeway and Second Link, and hope to provide more details soon," he added.

Meanwhile, Malaysia Airlines and SIA jointly announced yesterday that they will reactivate their codeshare arrangement between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur.

From Nov 29, travellers with Singapore Airlines will be able to connect on Malaysia Airlines services out of Kuala Lumpur with 15 new codeshare destinations in Malaysia, such as Johor Baru, Kota Kinabalu and Langkawi.

From Jan 1, Malaysia Airlines passengers will be able to connect on SIA flights from Singapore to seven places in Europe and two locations in South Africa.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 19, 2021, with the headline 'Six airlines to operate VTL flights between S'pore, KL'. Subscribe