Shopping, meeting and returning to Changi Airport
SINGAPORE – Shops and restaurants are returning to Changi Airport, while families and friends can once again meet and greet passengers in the arrival halls, as the airport prepares for the reopening of borders in Singapore to fully vaccinated travelers on Friday (April 1).
With plans to gradually relax protocols in place since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the airport said in a press release on Wednesday that it aims to bring back its famous “Changi experience” to passengers and visitors, while being ready to re-establish security measures if necessary.
Some administrative hassles may remain – for example, departing passengers are advised to arrive at the airport at least 2.5 hours before their flight to allow plenty of time to check documents such as vaccinations and health certificates. test before departure.
However, Transport Minister S. Iswaran has urged Singaporeans to take such inconveniences in their stride as the city-state attempts to resume normal air travel and revive its aviation industry amid the pandemic.
“It’s always about finding the balance between safety and the traveler experience…and it’s a dynamic balance because you have to react to changing circumstances,” Iswaran said during an in-home interview after a media tour of the airport on Wednesday.
“The pandemic has clearly introduced a new set of challenges. So I urge all travelers to take it in their stride.
Easier access to the airport
Arrival procedures at Changi Airport will be eased, with passengers able to move freely between its operational terminals, Terminals 1 and 3, as well as its Changi Jewel entertainment and retail complex.
As arriving passengers do not need to be tested on arrival from Friday, fully vaccinated passengers can now meet up with family and friends in the arrivals halls after collecting their luggage.
Previously, arrivals halls were reserved for passengers and professional hospitality staff to minimize interaction. Barricades at Terminals 1 and 3 have now been removed.
Passengers can also take public buses or the MRT from the airport, in addition to taxis, private rental cars and personal transport.
Fully immunized passengers can also shop and dine at any of the terminal and Changi Jewel outlets before leaving the airport. Currently, approximately 65% of the stores in the transit areas of Terminals 1 and 3 are open.
As passenger capacity is gradually increasing, Iswaran said Terminal 2 will be “gradually opened” over the course of this year, while Terminal 4 can be activated at short notice if needed.
“It’s a decision that must be based on the larger circumstances, as there are significant overhead and labor costs associated with opening a terminal,” he said. “So it’s not something where you can just open one door or two doors at once.”
Changi Airport said in its press release that it is ready to implement additional security measures if necessary.
For example, gates C1 to C3 of Terminal 1 can be activated as a transit waiting area within two hours, if there are countries or regions placed in the restricted category of the Ministry of Health.
In addition, arrival testing facilities at terminals are maintained as backup facilities, should arrival testing be resumed.
Passenger arrivals are picking up
The Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore announced last Thursday (March 24) that Singapore will remove all existing vaccinated taxiways and unilateral opening arrangements from Friday.
In its new simplified travel framework, countries and regions will be categorized into either the general travel category or the restricted category. To begin with, all countries and regions will fall under the general category of travel, but may be reclassified in the event of a new variant presenting a “potentially significant” public health risk, according to the Ministry of Health.
Changi Airport said it handled 3 million passenger movements in 2021, compared to 68 million passenger movements recorded in 2019, before the pandemic. In the first two months of this year, 1.42 million passenger movements were recorded, 13% of pre-COVID levels for the same period.
As of March 2022, 81 airlines operated over 2,800 weekly flights – including passenger and cargo services – with connections from Changi Airport to 116 cities in 46 countries/regions. This compares to 91 airlines operating around 7,480 weekly flights in March 2019 to 164 cities in 48 countries/regions.
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