CAAS to Manage VTL Inflow to Mitigate Omicron Risk; Steps Up Safeguards to Protect Aviation Community

            Given the rapid spread of the Omicron variant overseas, the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) will take proactive and preemptive steps to manage the inflow of Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) travellers and mitigate the risk to the Singapore community, while we observe and assess the emerging situation. Additional safeguards will also be implemented to protect frontline airport workers and air crew.  

2.         With effect from 22 December 2021, 2359 hours (Singapore time), there will be no new ticket sales on designated VTL flights for entry into Singapore from all VTL countries until 20 January 2022, 2359 hours (Singapore time). For entry into Singapore on designated VTL flights from 21 January 2022, CAAS will cap the total ticket sales at 50% of the allocated quota.

3.         Under the VTL, fully vaccinated travellers from VTL countries, who travel on designated VTL flights may enter Singapore without quarantine and just need to undergo COVID-19 testing. Short-term visitors (STVs) and long-term pass holders (LTPHs) will also need to apply for a Vaccinated Travel Pass (VTP) to enter Singapore. Fully vaccinated Singapore Citizens and Permanent Residents (SCPRs) and children aged 12 years and below in the calendar year do not need to apply for a VTP to enter Singapore.

4.         SCPRs who hold flight tickets on designated VTL flights and meet all other conditions for travel under the VTL will not be affected and may continue to enter Singapore under the VTL. Those who do not will be subject to prevailing border health measures, including quarantine requirements.

5.         LTPHs and STVs may also continue to travel to Singapore quarantine-free under the VTL if they hold both valid VTPs and tickets on designated VTL flights, and meet all other conditions for travel under the VTL. Those who do not may be denied entry into Singapore.

Additional Safeguards to Protect Airport Workers and Air Crew

6.         When reports of the Omicron variant first emerged in late November, CAAS implemented various measures to protect airport workers, air crew and public health in Singapore. These include:

  • First, restricting entry for travellers with recent travel history to sub-Saharan Africa.[1]
  • Second, deferring the launch of some VTLs.[2]
  • Third, tightening testing protocols for VTL travellers.[3] 
  •  Fourth, tightening personal protective equipment (PPE) and testing protocols for airport workers and air crew.[3] 

7.         CAAS will further step up the safeguards and requirements to protect the aviation community as follows:

  • First, enhanced PPE including N95 masks and face shields for all airport workers who interact with arriving passengers, including those working in public areas such as taxi stands.
  • Second, all frontline airport workers will minimally be placed on 7-day Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) rostered routine testing (RRT), instead of the current 7-day Antigen Rapid Test (ART) RRT cycle. In addition, for higher risk frontline airport workers, there will be an employer-supervised ART on the third day in between their 7-day PCR testing cycle.
  • Third, enhanced 7-day PCR RRT regime with an employer-supervised ART on the third day of the cycle for Singapore air crew.

8.         CAAS will continue to closely monitor the evolving COVID-19 situation and adjust the measures to protect travellers, airport workers, air crew and the community. 

[1] Botswana, Eswatini, Ghana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, South Africa, and Zimbabwe. Please refer to MOH press releases of 26 November 2021 and 3 December 2021.

[2] Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Please refer to MOH press release of 28 November 2021.

[3] Please refer to MOH press release of 30 November 2021. In addition, all workers in the transit area must minimally don an N95 mask and face shield, with those in the highest risk areas also wearing gowns and gloves.