Travelers will once again be allowed to transit through Singapore’s Changi Airport from June 2 as the city-state prepares to ease some COVID-19 restrictions and gradually reopen its borders.
However, in the short term, Singapore stopovers will be very different to what travelers are accustomed to.
Instead of browsing the duty-free shops or kicking back in the airline lounge , transit passengers will “remain in designated facilities in the transit area and not mix with other passengers whilst at Changi Airport,” said the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore in announcing the relaxed restrictions.
Airport staff will wear personal protective equipment when interacting with passengers, while existing precautionary measures, such as safe distancing and temperature checks for passengers and staff, will remain in place.
Singapore’s ban on transit passengers came into effect from Tuesday March 24, accompanied by a ban on short-term visitors to the island nation, after it recorded its first two deaths from COVID-19 complications.
Changi Airport is among the region’s busiest, with 65.6 million travelers passing through in 2018.
Allowing transit passengers at Changi should also help boost the outlook for Singapore Airlines, which has been hobbled by the closure of its gateway hub, although it’s unsure if British Airways will resume its London-Singapore-Sydney route in light of the UK’s move towards a 14-day quarantine period.
The aviation authority said that airlines “should submit their proposals for transfer lanes through Changi Airport to the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore. The proposals will be evaluated taking into account aviation safety, public health considerations, as well as the health of passengers and air crew.”