Singapore Airlines has resumed transit services from London to Australia and New Zealand under a special arrangement.
Just two days before Christmas, the government of Singapore banned short-term visitors and transit passengers who had recently been in the United Kingdom. This decision, which was made effective at 23:59 Singapore Standard Time on 23rd December,2020, left thousands of travelers stranded abroad, with limited options for getting home.
Now, Singapore Airlines is reporting that it has got government approval to carry passengers from London Heathrow to Sydney and Auckland via its Singapore Changi Hub. Singapore has lifted a ban on travelers transiting through Changi Airport from the UK, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.
Australia and New Zealand remain closed to international residents, but citizens and permanent residents are permitted to return subject to a 14-day hotel quarantine upon arrival. In addition to this, international arrival caps apply on services to Australia, meaning each flight is limited to a maximum of about 30 passengers.
A Singapore Airlines spokesperson confirmed that government approval to carry passengers has been obtained. However, there are some special restrictions in place.
Under the special arrangement with SIA and Singapore, travellers on the Kangaroo route must present a negative PCR test result taken within 72 hours prior to departure. They will also be segregated from other passengers while onboard and cannot leave the aircraft during their layover in Singapore.
This means that passengers will have to remain onboard the aircraft for roughly 24 hours. This applies to passengers flying to both: Sydney and Auckland.
“The health and safety of our staff and customers remain our utmost priority, and [Singapore Airlines] will continue to employ stringent health and safety measures on the ground and in the air to ensure the well-being of our passengers and crew”, said a Singapore Airlines Spokesperson to Sydney Morning Herald.
A SIA spokesperson told Business Traveller that the same Airbus A350 aircraft will be used on both legs of the approved routes.
“These services are primarily to accommodate existing bookings for both New Zealand and Australia-bound passengers. Passenger numbers remain restricted; however [new] bookings may be made, subject to availability and passengers meeting requisite travel and entry requirements.”, said the airline.
What do you think of this flight resumption with the condition that transit passengers remain onboard the aircraft? Let us know in the comments section below.