SIA, Scoot to stop flying transit passengers from Singapore to HK

Published Thu, Apr 15, 2021 · 08:57 PM

SINGAPORE Airlines and Scoot will both stop carrying transit passengers on Singapore to Hong Kong flights until further notice, due to new regulatory requirements in Hong Kong, the airlines said. 

In statements on Thursday night, the airlines said the move would take effect on Saturday for Singapore Airlines, and April 30 for Scoot. The dates correspond to when suspensions for the respective airlines’ passenger flights to Hong Kong lift. 

Flights from Hong Kong to Singapore remain unaffected, and passengers originating from Hong Kong will be allowed to transfer through Changi Airport en-route to their final destinations, the airlines said. 

On Thursday, the Hong Kong government said that budget carrier Scoot passenger flights departing from Singapore will not be allowed to land in Hong Kong for two weeks starting Friday, after two Covid-19 cases were detected on a Scoot flight on Sunday.

This comes two weeks after parent company Singapore Airlines was also subjected to a similar ban.

In a statement on Thursday, the Centre for Health Protection of Hong Kong's Department of Health said passenger flight TR980 operated by Scoot from Singapore to Hong Kong on Sunday had two passengers confirmed to have Covid-19. One passenger had also failed to comply with requirements under Hong Kong's prevention and control of disease regulations.

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"The Department of Health thus invoked the regulation to prohibit landing of passenger flights from Singapore operated by Scoot in Hong Kong from April 16 to 29," it said.

Scoot confirmed in a separate statement that it was asked by the Hong Kong authorities on Wednesday to suspend its daily service from Singapore to Hong Kong. It added that its passenger service from Hong Kong to Singapore is not affected.

Scoot said that two transfer passengers on the Sunday flight - who carried valid negative pre-departure Covid-19 test results - tested positive on arrival in Hong Kong.

A third transfer passenger on board the same flight had negative pre-departure Covid-19 test results, but still tested negative on arrival in Hong Kong. However, this passenger's test and travel visa supporting documents were found to "not fully meet Hong Kong's regulatory requirements".

Scoot said it will "work closely with our ground-handling agents to reinforce our protocols and staff training in conducting document checks at our departure points, and to ensure that the passengers we carry are in compliance with all regulatory requirements".

It added that it will provide affected passengers booked on TR980 departing during the period of suspension a re-booking where possible, or offer a full refund.

On April 2, Singapore Airlines said it was asked to suspend its daily passenger service from Singapore to Hong Kong from April 3 to April 16.

The previous suspension came after a transit passenger who travelled on board flight SQ882 and had a negative pre-departure test result, subsequently tested positive on arrival in Hong Kong.

In that case, three other transit passengers who also had negative pre-departure test results, were subsequently found to not have fully met the regulatory requirements of the Hong Kong authorities based on their test documents.

At the time, it was reported by The Straits Times that Hong Kong had barred airlines from landing in Hong Kong for two weeks a total of 23 times since August last year. These airlines include Hong Kong's own flag carrier Cathay Pacific, Air India and some European carriers such as British Airways.

Singapore Airlines shares fell 2.9 per cent or S$0.16 on Thursday to close at $5.34.

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