Green lanes and air travel bubbles with countries whose COVID-19 infection rates are low were among the plans outlined by Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung on Tuesday to “revive” Changi Airport.
Taking “proactive steps” to revive Changi Airport is a “top national priority”, said Minister Ong.
However, he pointed out that there was a need to “manage expectations”.
“I need to manage expectations here. For members who are hoping that I’m about to announce some air travel resumption and even possible December holiday destinations, I am sorry I will disappoint you,” he said.
“The key is to make sure we stay safe and manage the risks. We have gone through quite a bit, including a painful circuit breaker, to arrive at the stable situation we have today. And we must not give that up.”
Changi Airport has already set up a facility to swab up to 10,000 passengers a day. In the next few months, there are plans to set up a dedicated COVID-19 testing laboratory at the airport to support aviation recovery, said Minister Ong
More green lanes to revive Changi Airport
Singapore will continue to pursue reciprocal green lane arrangements with partner countries or regions, said Minister Ong.
These are restricted to a small group of essential business and official travelers, who will be subjected to pre-departure and on-arrival COVID-19 tests to ensure that they do not carry the virus.
These travelers will also have “controlled itineraries” to minimize any residual risk of community spread, the minister said.
Currently, Singapore has such arrangements with Brunei, China, Japan, Malaysia, and South Korea.
Singapore will also continue to facilitate passenger transfers at Changi Airport, said Minister Ong.
“As an air hub, about a quarter of our passenger volume at Changi are transferred, meaning the passengers do not clear immigration and are using Changi Airport as an interchange to get to their final destinations,” he explained.