BA flights hit as Singapore extends coronavirus 'circuit breaker'

British Airways earmarked May 1 to restart daily London-Singapore flights, but there's many a slip 'twixt the cup and the lip.

By David Flynn, April 23 2020
BA flights hit as Singapore extends coronavirus 'circuit breaker'

British Airways' plans to resume flights between London and Singapore in May could be scuppered by the city-state extending its coronavirus 'circuit breaker' measures through to June 1.

Having paused all flights to Singapore and Sydney from April 9, BA recently listed the return of its daily BA11/BA12 service beginning May 1, although Sydney remained in the 'suspended' basket owing to travel and transit bans sparked by the coronavirus pandemic.

Singapore's ban on transit passengers and entry by most non-citizens, introduced on March 24, remains in place and has now been incorporated into the city-state's strict 'circuit breaker' restrictions intended to pre-empt escalating coronavirus infections.

This restricts residents to staying at home except for essential reasons, and makes it compulsory to wear a mask when outside; allows cafes, restaurants and hawker centres to sell only take-away food and drinks; prohibits social gatherings; imposes one metre of social distancing; and even bans the popular 'staycations' at the city's hotels, many of which are now being used for Government-mandated quarantine purposes.

Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong this week said the circuit breaker program, initially to remain in force until May 4, would last until at least June 1 following a sharp rise in Covid-19 cases, mostly among the city state’s migrant worker community.

As of Tuesday Singapore had 9,125 cases of COVID-19, the highest in Southeast Asia, with an average of 20 'unlinked' cases reported each within the larger community. “This suggests there is a larger, hidden reservoir of cases in the community,” Lee said.

British Airways previously ran several London-Sydney flights by keeping all transit passengers on the aircraft during its Singapore stopover, with the flight then classified as a 'technical fuel stop' rather than the more conventional transit stop.

This saw BA15 and BA16 aircraft pull up to the gate and take on catering and crew while refuelling while most passengers – except those joining or disembarking at Singapore itself – remained on board rather than heading into the terminal and the BA lounge.

Approached for comment by Executive Traveller, a British Airways spokesperson could offer only the airline's latest boilerplate response that "this is a fast moving situation, and we recommend all customers check for the latest on their flight on ba.com."

David

David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

AT
AT

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

14 Sep 2012

Total posts 326

Who in their right mind would get onboard any longhaul international flight in 2 weeks' time, or any flight for that fact.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

08 Jun 2014

Total posts 255

Me.

Singapore Airlines - KrisFlyer

12 Apr 2017

Total posts 83

And me!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

30 Mar 2018

Total posts 7

Exactly,they need only allow domestic ,trans tas and Pacific Island flights for the foreseeable future.

05 Oct 2017

Total posts 212

Why Pacific Islands? That's international too...I think when they are ready to re-open, most of the major countries will do so more or less on the same schedule. That will be followed by others.

23 May 2018

Total posts 6

Buy why? Has Singapore not closed their borders to all. They have such low numbers why would they even contemplate anyone coming in until a vaccine is found.

10 Apr 2016

Total posts 45

Singapore has low numbers!

Singapore Airlines - KrisFlyer

12 Apr 2017

Total posts 83

There will be no vaccine for maybe a year at least. International travel will definitely start again before a vaccine is in place. The demand will start to grow and pressure will mount as soon as overall new case numbers diminish, which we are seeing signs of the very beginning now.

05 Oct 2017

Total posts 212

Billy, if you're suggesting mandatory vaccines you better be careful what you wish for. If a mandatory vaccine requirement for travel came in, there would be a whole list, not just one. It would also discourage many people from ever traveling again.

Personally, I don't see it happening. Besides, the world needs to re-open and get back to business. Before covid, travel was largely unrestricted and there was never a problem. There is no reason why the world should change now. You will see the borders re-open within the next 4-6 weeks, 2 months at the latest.

21 Aug 2019

Total posts 51

All valid points about travelling or not. Point simply is that business travel will need to resume in line with economies coming out of deep freeze. Leisure travellers will be much slower to return.

05 Oct 2017

Total posts 212

Nick, you're largely correct but most business travel isn't essential either. I think both business and leisure travel will be slow to return, but given a few months it will bounce back - depending on the economic hit people and businesses will take in the meantime. Keep in mind many people have lost their jobs and some of these jobs won't be returning. Ditto for companies - many have folded or are in the process of doing so. So whether you're a business or leisure traveler, getting on a plane to a foreign country may not be as straightforward as you think. For me personally, I'm largely unaffected so will be traveling not long after the borders have re-opened. I don't expect to see many travelers of any type, until 3-6 months after the end of the crisis, and possibly longer.

15 Apr 2020

Total posts 1

I have the BA flight from Sydney to London on 4th May on hold with the intention to confirm today to get me back home to the UK. This article makes it sound like it's not operating then. Anyone know Anything official. I just can't get through to BA and googled and came across this article. Thanks

Joe
Joe

03 May 2013

Total posts 542

Good news....BA was the worst business class on the worst possible aircraft for ultra long haul. Hopefully they'll return with the new business suites on the A350. You'd need your head read to pay for J on a BA 777 from SYD-LHR.

08 Oct 2011

Total posts 49

I think it is premature to lift any travel restrictions when there are still thousands of new cases worldwide. Maybe there are some signs of the curve flatenning but the numbers will increase again if we are not careful.

08 Oct 2011

Total posts 49

I think it is premature to lift any travel restrictions when there are still thousands of new cases worldwide. Maybe there are some signs of the curve flatenning but the numbers will increase again if we are not careful. The only valid reason for air operations now is to repatriate stranded citizens in foreign countries and to airlift of essential cargo.

06 Feb 2014

Total posts 119

Hopefully they consider a re-route to Perth.

01 Apr 2014

Total posts 93

In fairness to Singapore they have controlled COVID-19 well, but are curently experiencing a fresh upward trend in new cases. Their current infections are still increasing (compared to Australia which is decreasing albeit off a higher base), and most reasonable people would agree that UK still has plenty of challenges ahead. With the current entry restrictions into SIN, can't see how restarting flights in a couple of weeks from LHR is economically feasible, unless there is demand for belly freight? For those who say they would happily get on that flight, I would be interested to hear their justifications if they are not returning residents.

I live in Singapore and i can assure you there is no way they are going to lift any restrictions in the next 8 weeks if not more.We are experiencing a massive amount of new cases that are related to the 323,000 imported workers that are shacked up in unhealthy dormitories.

We have 45 dormitories that house imported workers 15 of these have been identified as clusters still 30 more to go Singapore is going to be locked down for a very long time.If it continues [623 new cases yesterday total 5,050 people infected] the Government will have no choice but to instill more restrictions.

05 Oct 2017

Total posts 212

I am quite sure they will. These decisions are not made by scientists, but by bureaucrats. While I don't have any inside knowledge, I am quite sure Singapore's borders will re-open in a few weeks time, most likely sometime in May, or June at the latest.

Qantas

19 Apr 2012

Total posts 1111

FreqFlyer I think you will find these decisions are made by chief medical officers on advice from epidemiologists (the scientists). I suspect the local knowledge of Michael is on the mark.

Just an update since my last post on April 18 another 6,128 people have contracted the virus total people now 11,178 plus the circuit breaker has been extended for another month. The feeling here is Singapore will be in lockdown for a very long time!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

15 Aug 2017

Total posts 109

Singapore now the highest cases of covid 19 in south east Asia. That's not just due to testing rate either as other like HK etc have a higher test rate.


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