18 November 2021
Six airlines will operate daily designated flights under the Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) scheme between Singapore and Malaysia for a start, the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) said in a statement on Thursday (Nov 18).
These flights, which will begin from Nov 29, will be serviced by AirAsia, Jetstar Asia, Malaysia Airlines, Malindo Air, Scoot and Singapore Airlines (SIA) and will ply the route between Changi Airport and Kuala Lumpur International Airport.
Vaccinated travellers from Malaysia can apply for the vaccinated travel pass (VTP) from 10am on Nov 22 to enter Singapore without quarantine as long as they travel on a designated VTL flight. Singaporeans and permanent residents do not need to apply for a VTP.
They will need to undergo Covid-19 testing before departure and upon arrival in the Republic.
Unvaccinated children aged 12 and below who are accompanied by an eligible VTL traveller will be allowed to enter Singapore under the VTL.
Singapore currently has VTL arrangements with 21 other countries, of which 12 have been officially launched. The Australia VTL is the next to kick off on Nov 21.
Before the Covid-19 pandemic hit, the Singapore-Kuala Lumpur link was the busiest international air route in the world, with about 40 daily flights and an average of 7,000 arrivals per day at Changi Airport, CAAS said.
It added that Malaysia was among the top 3 markets for annual passenger arrivals at Changi Airport before the Covid-19 pandemic struck.
“Singapore and Malaysia enjoy strong economic links and warm people-to-people ties. The joint VTL is an important step in reopening the borders between two close neighbours, facilitate business and allow many families to reunite,” CAAS said.
The VTL however does not include land travel on the Causeway yet, although Singapore’s Covid-19 multi-ministry taskforce co-chair and Trade and Industry Minister Gan Kim Yong on Monday told reporters that a similar arrangement for the two countries’ land borders could be launched “in a few weeks’ time”.
On Thursday, Johor Chief Minister Hasni Mohammad was quoted by local Malaysian media as saying that the land VTL will be simultaneously launched on Nov 29, with confirmation reportedly from the federal and state governments.
In response to media queries, a spokesperson from Singapore’s Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) would only say it hopes to finalise the details of the VTL soon and will announce it once it does so, adding that both countries have made “good progress” on the discussion.
“Many workers from both countries have not been able to see their families for many months, and they will be one of our priorities when we reopen the land borders, to allow them to reunite with their families,” said the MTI spokesperson.
An estimated 300,000 Malaysians used to commute daily via the Causeway between Johor and Singapore pre-pandemic to work and study in the Republic. Since the borders were closed in March last year, about 100,000 of them are believed to be living and working here and have not been able to return home.
Separately, SIA said it will operate 10 weekly return VTL services between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur. This includes daily flights on SQ108 and SQ107 as well as SQ122 and SQ121, which fly three days a week, and they will be open for booking from 10am on Nov 19.
VTL flights by SIA’s low-cost carrier Scoot, TR472 and TR473, will operate four times weekly.
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