A few months ago, the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore, Immigration and Customs Authority and other government bodies made a unique compromise concerning the launch of flights into Singapore. They have been designating some corridors as Vaccinated Travel Lanes (VTL). A VTL designated flight is only for vaccinated travellers, and arrivals into Singapore are without the mandatory quarantine for those on these flights.
So far, Singapore has established VTLs with the following countries: Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Canada, Denmark, Fiji, Finland, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Malaysia, Maldives, the Netherlands, the Republic of Korea, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States. However, with the emergence of the Omicron variant, Singapore put a halt on the VTL lane planned to launch in December 2021 with Qatar, the United Arab Emirates.
From India, only six flights are operated on a VTL-corridor so far, two from Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai. Out of this, one flight each is handed out to Singapore Airlines and IndiGo, Air India and Vistara operate one flight per day. I’m sure there was a substantial success on this model because Singapore Airlines planned to upgauge the Delhi and Mumbai flights to A380 aircraft in the coming days.
Singapore halts sale of new VTL tickets
A new notice put out on the Singapore ICA’s website reads,
With effect from 22 December 2021, 2359hrs (SGT), there will be no new ticket sales for designated VTL (Air) flights for entry into Singapore from all VTL countries until 20 January 2022, 2359hrs (SGT). Travellers who have booked a ticket on a VTL (Air) flight before 22 December 2021, 2359hrs (SGT) will continue to be allowed to enter Singapore under the VTL (Air), provided they meet all VTL (Air) conditions.
This policy goes into effect tonight at 11:59 pm Singapore Time / 9:29 pm India time. This is ostensibly being done with an eye on Omicron.
The Government of Singapore’s Ministry of Health will temporarily reduce the VTL quotas and ticket sales for travel after January 20, 2022. This will be curtailed to half the original capacity authorised for the time being.
While this does not impact those who are already booked to travel into Singapore, coupled with the humongous testing requirements for those arriving in Singapore, this means there will be a massive decline for arrivals in Singapore again.
This will be a massive blow to those who intend to visit Singapore in the coming month, but the good news is that there are still a few hours to act on your bookings if you’d like to arrive in Singapore within the next month. However, a VTL travel pass apart from your applicable Visa will also be required for you to be able to enter Singapore.
What do you make of this new move by Singapore to reduce travel into the country?
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I’ve been in Singapore for the past 7 days after arriving on a VTL flight from LAX.
Honestly I’ve not found the testing requirements to be “humongous” at all.
1 pre-departure test in my home country where I was familiar with the testing process etc
1 arrival PCR test at Changi that was pre-booked & pre-paid online before departure and cost ~ S$115. I was then able to go to my hotel and hang out in the room (self isolate) until my negative result was sent to my email. That took about 6-7 hours.
Then on 4 of the next 6 days I took self tests in my hotel room before leaving and reported the results via a link they sent my email. Results only take 15 minutes and each test cost only S$4.90 and are readily available at every pharmacy all over Singapore. On the other 2 of those 6 days we booked and prepaid online for tests at one of many area testing centers and went there when first leaving our hotel for the day to do a self test while someone watched. Total time at the test center was ~ 8 minutes and ~ 5 minutes only cost S$15 per test, and results were in our email box 2 and 3 hours later, respectively.
I know it sounds like a lot but honestly how hard is it to do a quick self test while getting ready in the morning or to take 10-20 minutes to stop by a testing center?
The paper work and the testing requirements of Singapore make a joke of the word ‘travel lane’. This is a unique travel lane that requires a Covid test everyday for a week upon arrival in Singapore.
Instead of trying to sail on both boats it would be more sensible to keep borders completely shut like China if Singapore can’t make up their mind.
eThe whole world has gone nuts. LIVE ON! This virus is here forever and this is no way to live life.