Recognising the need for Changi Airport to have the needed capacity to handle increasing flight and passenger flows as China reopens, Singapore will continue to take a “cautious approach” to rebuilding scheduled flights to and from China.
Singapore transport minister S Iswaran shared in Parliament on January 9 that Singapore and Chinese airlines have applied to operate more flights between the two countries, and the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) is evaluating these applications.
Weekly services between China and Singapore have increased from 25 at the end of October 2022 to 36 around mid-December. At press time, there are 38 weekly flights between the two countries.
Iswaran noted that the current service level is barely 10 per cent of the number of Singapore-China flights pre-pandemic, and about 1.5 per cent of the total flights handled by the airport.
Daily arrivals from China stand between 700 and 1,000 – about one to 1.5 per cent of the airport’s total daily arrivals and less than 10 per cent of pre-pandemic numbers.
A majority – at least 60 per cent – of these arrivals are Singapore citizens, permanent residents and long-term pass holders.
The paced restoration of flights will ensure that Changi Airport has the capacity to “manage the ramp-up in flights, provide clarity and certainty to airlines, and ensure that passengers have a safe and smooth experience” he said, adding that aviation authorities will respond swiftly to “material change in the health ministry’s risk assessment, such as the emergence of a new variant of concern”.
During discussions about the projected restoration of Singapore-China flights to pre-pandemic levels, Iswaran said a surge was unlikely in the near term. Factors impacting speed of return to service include the public health situation as well as Changi Airport’s ability to manage increases in the number of passengers.