Jetstar to operate Asean transit flights through Singapore's Changi Airport

SINGAPORE, Nov 20 (The Straits Times/ANN): Singapore's Changi Airport will open up further to transit passengers, with Jetstar Asia on Friday (Nov 20) announcing that those on its flights from six South-east Asian cities will be able to transit via Singapore to other destinations from Dec 1.

It is the fourth airline allowed to operate such transit flights after the three airlines under Singapore Airlines (SIA) Group - SIA, Scoot and SilkAir - began doing so in August.

Such a move is expected to give traffic at Changi Airport a small boost, although aviation experts have said that demand for these flights will likely remain low, given continued restrictions on international travel and the lack of a meaningful travel bubble in South-east Asia.

The transit flights apply to Jetstar Asia passengers departing from Bangkok, Ho Chi Minh City, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, Penang and Phnom Penh.

Those transiting will have to wear a wristband throughout their journey so they can be identified by airport and airline staff.

Jetstar Asia said they will as far as possible be kept separate from other passengers by being seated together near the front of the aircraft.

They will disembark from the planes first and board last, and will be kept at a transit holding area or hotel during their time in Singapore, which must not exceed 48 hours.

However, those arriving from Vietnam will be exempted from these regulations, as it is one of the countries Singapore has decided to unilaterally lift border restrictions to.

Singapore did so in October after assessing that visitors from Vietnam were unlikely to have the coronavirus due to the country's public health surveillance system and low infection rates.

Visitors from Vietnam are able to go about their activities in Singapore after a negative Covid-19 swab test upon arrival here and need not serve a stay-home notice.

The transit flights are a "positive step in the airline's recovery", said Jetstar Asia chief executive officer Bara Pasupathi.

The budget carrier had cut a quarter of its Singapore-based workforce, including 220 pilots, in July, and retired five of its aircraft.

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