Singapore Airlines has announced it will officially ramp up its flight schedule to and from Australia from 1 November, as NSW prepares to reopen its international borders.
The airline has also announced it will bring its Airbus A380s back into service on select flights between Singapore and London from mid-November.
Singapore Airlines has announced that come November, it will reinstate all 17 weekly flights between Singapore and Sydney, for fully vaccinated Australian residents and citizens.
The move makes Singapore one of the first foreign airlines to announce a large-scale return to Australia since the Prime Minister last month announced the country’s international borders would reopen to citizens and residents.
It comes after NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet announced that fully vaccinated overseas arrivals would be welcomed back into the state with no quarantine requirements from 1 November.
Vaccinated passengers can now book flights between Singapore-Sydney and Sydney-Singapore, with eligible passengers urged to book those flights tagged as ‘For Eligible Passengers Only’.
Passengers are eligible if they are Australian residents or citizens, have been fully vaccinated with an Australian TGA-approved COVID-19 vaccine, and be able to provide proof of vaccination that meets the Australian government’s authenticity and verification requirements.
The Commonwealth is also yet to provide information on how TGA-approved vaccines that have been obtained overseas will be verified by Australian border officials.
Over the last 18 months, Singapore has been operating at a diminished capacity to Australia due to the caps on international arrivals.
The airline has been performing just one flight per day carrying passengers into Sydney, with the remaining flights operating as cargo-only.
Louis Arul, Singapore Airlines vice-president, southwest Pacific, welcomed the return of international traffic to Australia, however stated that “more detail is needed” on how unvaccinated travellers will be facilitated, and how airlines are to navigate those caps.
“We look forward to receiving clarification from the Commonwealth and NSW governments on these key issues and remain committed to working closely with all levels of government to operationalise the plans to support the safe and sustainable reopening of Australia’s borders,” Arul said.
Singapore Airlines said it will continue to seek guidance from the relevant authorities on behalf of the unvaccinated passengers that currently hold existing bookings into Sydney from 1 November.
The airline stated it will assist with rebooking affected passengers once clarification is provided on capped flight operations.
The airline also recently announced that it will bring back its Airbus A380s on legs between Singapore and London from 18 November, after the UK joined in Singapore’s ‘Vaccinated Travel Lane’ (VTL) quarantine-free arrangement.
Currently, the airline is using Boeing 777 aircraft for the route, however, it will soon reintroduce the superjumbo due to “strong passenger demand”.
From 18 November, its SQ322 service from Singapore to London as well as the return leg from London to Singapore SQ317 will both be performed by the airline’s iconic A380s.
SQ317 will also become the designated ‘green’ quarantine-free flight from the UK, under the VTL agreement.
Arul said the A380 has long been a fan-favourite for passengers, and Australians are likely to welcome the addition, once operations ramp up.
“Once Australia’s border restrictions are lifted, I am sure Australians will relish the opportunity to experience all the comforts of our A380 as they wing their way from Singapore to London,” he said.
“Our award-winning digital initiatives, as well as our industry-leading health and safety measures, will ensure Australians travel in comfort and safety as they reunite with family and friends.”
Earlier this year, Australian Aviation reported that two Singapore A380s had officially left long-term storage in Alice Springs, ahead of their return to service.
In July, 9V-SKW msn 251 departed Alice Springs bound for Sydney, where the airline confirmed it would undergo maintenance ahead of its planned return to passenger operations.
Earlier, in February, 9V-SKQ was also moved from Alice Springs to Sydney for maintenance, before heading back to Singapore.