UPDATE (29 Jun 2020): This article has been edited to include the expanded list of cities from which travellers can originate from, and transit through Changi.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Singapore had restricted travellers through its borders, including those in transit. However, authorities lifted this ban, allowing passengers to transit through Changi Airport from 2 Jun 2020. Airlines have had to submit their proposals for transit lanes through Changi, which would then be evaluated on a case-by-case basis with aviation safety and public health in mind.
Singapore Airlines and SilkAir have already been given the go ahead to operate transit flights through Singapore, but only for passengers from selected destinations.
When the approval was first given, only passengers travelling from Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth, and Sydney in Australia, as well as Auckland and Christchurch in New Zealand, will be able to transit in Changi with onward connections to any destination in the SIA Group network currently operated by Singapore Airlines, SilkAir and Scoot, with effect from 11 Jun 2020.
On 22 Jun 2020, this list was then expanded to include selected cities from China (including Hong Kong SAR), Japan and South Korea.
Now, with effect from 29 Jun 2020, the list was further expanded to include London, Copenhagen, Frankfurt and Amsterdam.
Note that the permission to transit through Changi is only for passengers originating from the aforementioned cities, with onward connections to other cities currently operated by the SIA Group.
There will also be some major changes in terms of the travel experience for these transit passengers.
First, passengers who intend to transit through Changi may not be able to select their seats in advance during the booking process, but may be assigned a seat closer to the departure date. There will be dedicated seating zones for these transit passengers onboard, and they will have to remain in these zones throughout the duration of the flight. Upon arrival into Singapore, they will only be allowed to disembark after non-transit passengers have done so.
Once in the terminal, transit passengers will be issued a wristband, allowing them to gain access to the transit holding area in Changi Airport. They must wear this wristband at all times while in transit. For those passengers with transit times in excess of 75 minutes, they will be ushered to these holding areas before boarding their connecting flight.
They will have to remain within the confines of this holding area at all times. To ensure that passengers have access to amenities, there will be complimentary wifi, food kiosks, vending machines, restrooms, a smoking room and a snoozing corner, all located within the holding area.
PPS Club passengers, and those travelling in Suites, First and Business Class will not be allowed to visit the SilverKris Lounge during the transit. However, they will have access to a premium waiting area within the transit holding area, where complimentary food and beverages will be provided.
When it is time to board their connecting flights, transit passengers will be ushered to the boarding gate, where they will be boarded ahead of non-transit passengers to minimise contact between these groups.
It seems that at least for now, transit passengers will not be able to experience Changi Airport like we used to. Nonetheless, this is a good start as airlines begin to reactivate more routes in their network, most of which involve heavy connections at their respective hubs, as what we are seeing here for the SIA Group in Singapore. We should be expecting passengers from other identified cities to be allowed to transit through Changi as the situation gradually improves.