SINGAPORE: The reopening of Singapore’s borders to fully-vaccinated travellers on Friday (1 April) signals recovery for Changi Airport, but travellers should be prepared for some hassles as some health measures will remain in place.
Friday 1 April marks the gradual easing of Covid-19 protocols at Southeast Asia’s leading aviation hub as fully vaccinated international travellers can visit Singapore without quarantine and on-arrival tests.
Airport officials say they are confident they can bring back the renowned “Changi experience” for passengers, but they warned some administrative hassles might remain in the short term.
For example, departing passengers should reach the airport two and half hours before their flights to allow enough time for checks on documents such as vaccination and pre-departure test certificates.
Yahoo News quoted Singapore’s Minister of Transport S Iswaran urging Singaporeans “to take such inconveniences in their stride as the city-state tries to resume normal air travelling and revive its aviation industry amid the pandemic.”
In the meantime, arrival procedures at Changi Airport will be eased significantly for the first time in two years. Passengers can roam freely through terminals 1 and 3, as well as the Changi Jewel entertainment and retail complex.
As there is no need for arriving passengers to do on-arrival testing starting today (Friday), fully-vaccinated passengers can now meet their family and friends at the arrival halls after collecting their luggage.
Passengers can also take public buses or the MRT from the airport, in addition to taxis, private-hire cars and personal transport.
Fully-vaccinated passengers can start to shop or dine again at outlets in the terminals and Changi Jewel. The airport authorities said 65% of the shops at the transit areas of Terminals 1 and 3 are open.
As passenger capacity is gradually ramping up, Iswaran suggested Terminal 2 would “progressively open” this year, while Terminal 4 could be activated on short notice if needed.
For the first two months of 2022, Changi registered 1.42 million passenger movements, 13% of pre-Covid levels for the same period.
Changi reported Just 3 million passenger movements in 2021, compared to 68 million in 2019, before the pandemic.
As of March 2022, 81 airlines operate over 2,800 weekly flights – including passenger and cargo services – with connections from Changi Airport to 116 cities across 46 countries/regions. It compares to 91 airlines operating 7,480 weekly flights in March 2019 to 164 cities across 48 countries/regions.