S$15 Million Support to Help Aviation Workers Adjust to Enhanced Measures

No new cases involving airport workers since 20 May 2021;

Changi Airport Passenger Terminal Buildings and Jewel Changi Airport on track to reopen safely and progressively;

Non-invasive breathalyser testing to be progressively introduced for airport workers


            Following the detection of COVID-19 cases at Changi Airport, the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) and Changi Airport Group (CAG) have been working closely with the Ministry of Health (MOH) and the airport community to review and strengthen Changi Airport’s defences against the more transmissible COVID-19 variants. Enhanced safety measures have been implemented to protect our airport workers, travellers and the public.

2          Cohorting arrangements for airport workers have been tightened through a zonal system to reduce the risk of cross infection. In particular, airport workers in the passenger terminal piers, arrival immigration halls and baggage claim halls who have interactions with arriving and transfer passengers and therefore are at higher risk of exposure to the virus, are now required to remain in their work zone throughout their shift, including during their meal and rest times. They are also required to be in higher levels of personal protective equipment (PPE) protection throughout the duration of their shift except during their meal and rest times. 

3          CAAS and CAG have been working closely with the airport community, including companies and unions under the NTUC Aerospace & Aviation Cluster, to address the needs and concerns of airport workers and help them adapt to the enhanced measures.

4          In response to their feedback, CAAS and CAG will set aside S$15 million to help these workers. The S$15 million will be used by the airport community to provide a monthly special allowance for six months, cater meals for these workers during their shift for the same period, and to help defray the cost of PPE. We expect about 5,000 aviation workers to benefit from the support.

Safe and Progressive Reopening of PTBs and Jewel

5          Since 20 May 2021, there have not been any new COVID-19 positive cases involving airport workers announced by MOH. Of the 43 airport workers who had tested positive, 42 have been discharged and the remaining worker is recovering in a hospital general ward without oxygen supplementation.

6          Deep cleaning and disinfection of Changi Airport’s Passenger Terminal Buildings (PTBs) and Jewel Changi Airport (Jewel) have been completed. A new enhanced segregated zoning system announced on 24 May 2021 has also been implemented at the airport. Airport workers have been briefed and trained on the new measures and requirements, to allow the new measures and safety protocols to be implemented smoothly. As an added safeguard, there will also be regular reminders, checks and audits on health safety.

7          The PTBs and Jewel, which have been closed to the public since 13 May 2021, will now be progressively reopened. Jewel will reopen on 14 June 2021[1]. The PTBs will remain closed to the public to allow the airport community to adapt to the new zoning measures, which require significant operational adjustments. More details about PTB reopening will be released nearer the date.

Non-Invasive Breathalyser Testing to be Rolled Out Progressively

8          It was earlier announced that from 23 May 2021, airport workers in higher risk roles must take an additional Antigen Rapid Test (ART) between their 7-day Polymerase Chain Reaction-based Rostered Routine Tests. Since 3 June 2021, we have begun a small-scale pilot with the use of the TracieX breathalyser. Instead of undergoing an ART, workers in the pilot will blow into a disposable breathalyser fitted with a proprietary sensor chip. The breathalyser will then be inserted into a portable reading device for vibrational spectroscopy analysis, which will be able to tell if a person is infected with COVID-19 within two minutes.  

9          With the TracieX breathalyser, workers will be able to receive their results faster than with the current ART. They will also experience less discomfort as the test is non-invasive. We aim to progressively replace the ART for more airport workers with the TracieX breathalyser in the coming months. This will also allow us to step up the frequency of testing so that we can more quickly detect, isolate and treat any potential COVID-19 cases in the airport community.

Emerging Stronger

10        Our aviation frontliners are committed to ensuring the safety of passengers, while protecting their families and safeguarding public health. Since the onset of the pandemic, they have remained vigilant and have courageously played their part in securing our borders, emerging stronger with each wave of new transmissions and viral strains. We would also like to thank Singaporeans for the strong support that they have given to our aviation frontline workers and the aviation community. 

[1] The public can reach Jewel from the Terminal 2 bus bay and Changi Airport MRT Station via the Terminal 2 link bridge to Jewel.

For media queries, please contact caas_corporate_communications@caas.gov.sg