Singapore Airlines (SIA) and Changi Airport Group (CAG) have welcomed the Government’s decision on Friday (Aug 21) to ease restrictions on inbound travel from Brunei and New Zealand. 

From Sep 1, some travellers coming to Singapore from those two countries will not be required to serve a stay-home notice but will instead take a COVID-19 test upon arrival.

“The recovery of air travel and airfreight is a necessary catalyst for the recovery of global trade and economies severely impacted by COVID-19,” said SIA Group.

“Today’s announcement is an important step towards the gradual rebuilding of the Singapore air hub. The SIA Group will continue to work closely with the Singapore government and all stakeholders to support this.”

SIA, SilkAir and Scoot accounted for more than half of the passengers flying in and out of Changi Airport in the last financial year.

With the easing of restrictions, SIA Group said it will work closely with the authorities to safeguard the health and safety of its customers, employees and communities it operates in.

CAG said it looks forward to welcoming tourists and leisure visitors to Singapore again.

“CAG welcomes today’s announcement on the opening of inbound leisure travel from New Zealand and Brunei,” said spokesman Ivan Tan.

“This is indeed good news for Changi Airport, and it is an encouraging start to what we hope will be a gradual resumption of air travel to and from Singapore,” he added.

“The health and safety of staff and visitors at Changi Airport remain a priority for us. We will work closely with the various government agencies and our airport partners to facilitate the safe travel processes at Changi when we receive visitors from these two countries.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has battered the aviation and travel industry worldwide.

In July, SIA Group reported a S$1.12 billion net loss in the first quarter after drastically cutting capacity due to travel restrictions amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Figures released on Monday showed that three of the group’s carriers continue to see sharp declines in passenger traffic for July. 

“The SIA Group will continue to closely monitor the demand for international air travel, and be nimble and flexible in adjusting our capacity to match this,” it said on Friday.

Singapore will also update its travel advisory for people who want to visit Brunei and New Zealand – to allow general travel to the two countries. However, they should check the entry requirements imposed by the respective governments.

Under Singapore’s current advisory, residents are advised to defer all travel abroad, except for essential business and official travel under green-lane and fast-lane arrangements.