Singaporeans may soon be able to take a holiday again: airline association

File photo of a plane flying over Singapore’s skyline buildings.
File photo of a plane flying over Singapore’s skyline buildings.

After being stuck on this tiny island over a year without much to do, Singaporeans could finally get the green light to escape for fun or to reunite with loved ones abroad.

That’s what Alexandre de Juniac thinks, at least. The director of the International Air Transport Association, which represents nearly 300 airlines, put his prediction on the record that leisure travel could take off again in May. He said that the association was working with 33 foreign destinations to reopen borders safely.

“We will likely start seeing a change in the air travel landscape after May or June this year,” he added. “We at [IATA] are already working with states to design and plan protocols and road maps for the reopening of borders,” de Juniac told the The Straits Times.

De Juniac said personal travel would likely “bounce back,” but traffic volume would remain below pre-pandemic levels as governments would still “remain in emergency mode” in case COVID-19 resurges again. Business travel, on the other hand, is likely to take at least a year to recover from the losses incurred during the pandemic, he added.

According to him, the association is working on an app called Travel Pass that will log travelers’ vaccination histories and COVID-19 test results to ease border crossings. He said Singapore Airlines would trial it starting next week for flights to London.

No global framework has been developed to facilitate travel access. Neighboring Thailand is moving forward with vaccination certificates for travelers who have been inoculated that it hopes will eventually be reciprocated by other countries.

Last month, Singapore opened a dedicated facility equipped with air-tight glass panels and UV boxes to sterilize documents for business travelers to conduct meetings safely. 

As of Sunday, close to 600,000 individuals have been vaccinated. Eligibility has been extended to teachers, postmen and migrant workers. Singaporeans have not been able to travel on vacation since borders closed in March. 

The number of travelers entering Singapore dropped 85.7% last year. 

COVID’s spread has slowed to a trickle in Singapore since September, averaging 12 new cases a day in the past week. Eight were logged today; the official death toll stands at 29.

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