When borders were still open, airlines that relied mostly on transit traffic fared the best. There was less government pressure to shut down flights, since most were simply passing through the airport, and as long as there were places to go on one side of the journey or the other, it was a competitive advantage to be an airline based in a transit hub.
But now that most of the world’s borders have shuttered, even being a transit hub doesn’t help. Singapore and Kong Kong have now closed their doors to short term visitors and transit passengers, and on the heels of that news, Singapore Air is down to just 4% of usual operations, flying just 9 aircraft between the airline and regional subsidiary Silk Air.
So who can enter Singapore Or Hong Kong now?
As of midnight March 23rd, 2020, All visitors and transit passenger are temporarily unable to enter Singapore, Hong Kong or even use Changi or Chep Lap Kok Airports.
For Singapore, only citizens and permanent residents are allowed to enter, and must self quarantine for 14 days upon arrival. Malaysians holding work permits are also allowed to enter.
Foreign workers and their dependents may return, but only if they work in an essential health field, which is broadly defined. For example, the Straits Times quotes a health official noting that even domestic helpers could be allowed entry, since caring for elderly, or children could be deemed vital for overall good.
For Hong Kong, all international tourist arrivals and transit passengers are banned for at least 14 days (from March 24th), with the exception of those from China, Macau and Taiwan. Anyone from these areas must not have recent international travel elsewhere to be admitted. Taiwan already has similar entry restrictions in place for foreign visitors.
How long until visitors are allowed back to Singapore, or Hong Kong?
Singapore’s Development Minister Lawrence Wong states that it’s too early to tell. Singapore is considering restrictions against citizens who choose to travel abroad during this time, as the world waits and watches to see how Europe and the USA fare.
Assuming that every country is 2-6 months behind China, it’s hard to know where to isolate or restrict movement, and for now, it appears the Singaporean Government will err’ on the side of caution. As one of the few places in the world to avoid widespread cases, it makes sense.
Hong Kong plans to re-evaluate the situation after 14 days, which may mean a much quicker return to visitor traffic. Local economies are suffering after a year of riots drained the city ahead of current world health concerns.
Singapore Airlines Down To 4% Flying…
Singapore Air has been one of the fastest growing airlines in the world, with routes operating just about everywhere. Now, the airline flies 9 planes, mostly to regional destinations. There’s no reason to fly when passengers from abroad can’t even transit, and it’ll be interesting to see when and how Singapore Air ramps up operations, when the time is right…