Qantas will return to Singapore next week with the launch of designated VTL flights from Sydney and Melbourne.
The airline has confirmed that "all Qantas flights from Australia to Singapore are designated as Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) services."
However, there's a caveat for some non-vax'd travellers: "in line with Singapore Government requirements, only fully vaccinated passengers can travel on these flights and medical exemptions are not accepted."
And while Australians can enter and return from Singapore without quarantine, the need for Covid PCR tests on arrival at Changi and before flying back to Australia – an impost of around $300 per passenger – plus Singapore's strict Covid policies on dining and nightlife have put a dampener on Qantas' schedule.
As of November 22 there's just a single Qantas return flight to Singapore each day, split between Sydney and Melbourne:
- the Melbourne-Singapore (QF36/QF36) flight runs on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday
- the Sydney-Singapore (QF81/QF82) flight runs on Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday
That's a far cry from 2019's double-daily services out of Sydney, which also saw the mighty Airbus A380 making a Singapore stopover on the way to and from London.
(Singapore Airlines is maintaining its double-daily schedule from both Sydney and Melbourne, with the flagship Airbus A380 taking on Sydney-Singapore duties as of December 1.)
Qantas lounges in Singapore
Qantas now intends to open its spacious Singapore Business Lounge in "early December", as this lounge's expansive space and 550+ passenger capacity is better suited to Singapore's strict social distancing rules than the smaller Singapore First Lounge.
Executive Traveller understands the Singapore First Lounge is expected to reopen in early 2022, as demand increases.
In the meantime, Qantas says passengers will be directed to the SATS Premier T1 Lounge until its Singapore Business Lounge opens next month.
Under the Vaccinated Travel Lane program, entry to Singapore is available only to full-vaccinated flyers who must also
- apply no fewer than seven days ahead of their flight for a Vaccinated Travel Pass
- present a negative result from Covid-19 PCR test or a "professionally-administered Antigen Rapid Test" taken within 48 hours of the departure of their flight to Singapore
- undergo a Covid-19 PCR test on arrival at Singapore's Changi Airport, and isolate until a negative result is returned (typically in 6-12 hours)
- hold travel insurance with a minimum coverage of SGD$30,000 for Covid-related medical expenses in Singapore