Transit approval granted for SIA Group passengers from Istanbul, Milan, Nanjing and more

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SIA Group passengers from 28 different cities can now transit through Changi Airport en route to other destinations in the network.

At the start of June, Singapore Airlines secured regulatory approval to carry transit passengers through Changi Airport once more. 

Since then, the list of approved cities where transit passengers can originate from has steadily grown. Initially, it was just Australia and New Zealand, then China, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan. At the end of June, selected European cities were included, and in July, the entire European network was added. 

changi airport transit
Photo Credit: Straits Times

Singapore Airlines has now added Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh, Istanbul, Milan, Phnom Penh, and Nanjing to the approved list.

Flights to Istanbul and Milan (on Singapore Airlines) will start on 26 August and 20 August respectively, while flights to Phnom Penh (on SilkAir) will start on 1 September. 

Full list of cities approved for Changi Airport transit

Here’s the full list of 28 cities from which transit passengers through Changi can originate.

Country City Served By
Australia Adelaide Singapore Airlines
Brisbane Singapore Airlines
Melbourne* Singapore Airlines
Perth Scoot
Sydney Singapore Airlines
Cambodia Phnom Penh SilkAir
China
Chongqing SilkAir
Guangzhou Scoot
Hong Kong Singapore Airlines & Scoot
Nanjing Scoot
Shanghai Singapore Airlines
Taipei Scoot
Denmark Copenhagen Singapore Airlines
France Paris Singapore Airlines
Germany Frankfurt Singapore Airlines
Italy Milan Singapore Airlines
Japan Osaka Singapore Airlines
Tokyo (Narita) Singapore Airlines
Netherlands Amsterdam Singapore Airlines
New Zealand Auckland Singapore Airlines
Christchurch Singapore Airlines
South Korea Seoul Singapore Airlines
Spain Barcelona Singapore Airlines
Switzerland Zurich Singapore Airlines
Turkey Istanbul Singapore Airlines
United Kingdom London Singapore Airlines
Vietnam
Hanoi Singapore Airlines
Ho Chi Minh Singapore Airlines
*Due to further restrictions imposed by the Australian Government, Singapore Airlines will not operate passenger services from Singapore to Melbourne from 1 July to 08 August 2020. Flights from Melbourne to Singapore from 1 July to 30 August 2020 are operating as listed.

Do note the “from” qualification- transit flights are only valid for outbound journeys from these selected cities. Passengers will not be able to transit from any other points in the SIA Group network through Singapore into these cities.

From Singapore, these transit passengers will be able to connect to the following destinations:

PNH flights only available from Sept

Do note that it’s not currently possible to fly to Mainland China if you’re an inbound transit passenger. That would rule out Chongqing, Guangzhou, Nanjing and Shanghai. 

For further details, refer to the following articles about the destinations that Singapore Airlines and Scoot are serving:

Restrictions on return flights

Although the addition of these cities opens up more routing options, do note that return flights can only be booked if both the origin and final destination are in the list of approved cities for transit via Singapore.

For example, Tokyo – Singapore – Sydney would be a valid itinerary, as both Tokyo and Sydney are in the approved city list. However, Sydney – Singapore – Los Angeles would not be a valid routing (as the return leg would violate the regulations). 

To meet the regulatory requirements, customers will need to book their full journey on one ticket, instead of splitting it up into separate tickets. In any case, I can’t imagine why anyone would want to split up their tickets- transit flights through Singapore on Singapore Airlines would almost certainly be cheaper than two separate point-to-point tickets terminating and starting in Singapore. 

What can you expect during the transit experience? 

Changi Airport has produced a video showcasing what passengers can expect during their transit.

Transit passengers will be kept as sterile as possible, with minimal interaction with passengers for whom Singapore is their final destination. 

On departure

The process starts before passengers have even stepped foot in Changi. Passengers will be screened for any signs of illness and asked to make a health declaration.

Those transiting in Singapore will be the first group to board the aircraft (regardless of cabin class). They will be assigned seating in a designated zone, which they must stay in throughout the flight. 

During transit in Changi

Terminal 1 Transit Holding Area | Photo Credit: changi Airport Group
Terminal 1 Transit Holding Area | Photo Credit: Changi Airport Group

On arrival at Changi, transit customers will disembark last, after passengers for whom Singapore is the final destination. All arriving passengers will be temperature screened, and transit passengers will receive a wristband which grants them access to the designated transit holding area.

If transit time is less than 75 minutes, customers will be ushered directly to the boarding gate. For transits longer than 75 minutes, customers will be ushered to a designated transit holding area before boarding.

Changi has designated two separate transit holding areas:

  • Terminal 1’s will be at Gates C1 to C3
  • Terminal 3’s will be outside Gate A15

Customers will not be able to make any stops along the way, and will have to stay in the transit holding area at all times. This area will have food kiosks, vending machines, restrooms, a smoking room and a snooze corner, with complimentary Wi-Fi. Passengers with young children will be relieved to know there’s an entertainment one with game machines at the Terminal 3 holding area. 

Vending Machines in Transit Area | Photo: Changi Airport Group

Changi will allow transit passengers to make duty-free purchases using the airport’s shopping concierge service. Products offered include those sold by Shilla Cosmetics and Perfumes, Lotte, and Gift by Changi Airport. These will be delivered directly to the holding area. There will also be an option to order food from outlets in Changi Airport.

terminal 3 lounge SIA
The SilverKris Lounge in Changi Terminal 3 will be out of bounds to transit passengers | Photo: The Shutterwhale

PPS Club members, Suites, First, and Business Class passengers will not be able to access the SilverKris Lounge in Changi Airport due to regulatory requirements. They will instead be invited to a “premium waiting area” in the transit holding area, where complimentary food and beverages will be provided. 

premium waiting area
Premium Transit Area | Photo: Changi Airport Group

There’s no mention of any access for KrisFlyer Elite Gold or Star Gold members traveling in Economy Class, so I think it’s best to not expect any love. 

Aerotel Changi Terminal 1
Aerotel Changi Terminal 1

For passengers with a longer layover, the Aerotel hotel in Changi Terminal 1 is now open for bookings, with a minimum stay of 1 hour. Transit passengers who have made bookings should inform the Changi Experience Ambassador on duty for assistance, who will escort them to the hotel. 

Departing from Changi

When the time comes to board, transit passengers will be ushered in groups from the transit holding area directly to the boarding gate, and board the aircraft first

Once again, transit passengers will be seated separately from non-transit passengers, and upon arrival, non-transit passengers will disembark first, followed by transit passengers. 

Conclusion

Singapore Airlines started June with only seven cities approved for transit passengers, but now has 25. This provides even more options for those with essential travel requirements, or people simply trying to get home. 

The resumption of transit flights has proved to be a boon for Changi, as passenger traffic numbers recovered from an all-time low of 24,500 in May to 48,200 in June. That’s still a decline of 99.2%, but it’s pretty much par the course for now. 

Aaron Wong
Aaron founded The Milelion to help people travel better for less and impress chiobu. He was 50% successful.

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