This week has been filled with travel related news. Here's a summary for this week:
Singapore Airlines (SIA) is planning to launch flights to nowhere this October. Jumping on the flycation trend, following the footsteps of similar flights from All Nippon Airways, EVA Air Air, and Qantas, albeit the later is flying over Antarctica. The decision to hold this three-hour flights to nowhere came after the news of Singapore Airlines Group cutting 4300 jobs due to the brunt of COVID-19.
The flights are set for domestic passengers to take off from Changi Airport and land again at the same airport. SIA decided to launch this initiative after they found that 75% of 308 people surveyed were willing to pay for such flights. In addition to this, SIA is also exploring a partnership with the Singapore Tourism Board, Hotels, and other partners to value-add to this service. Objectively, SIA is hoping to pump the business back into the industries to mitigate the COVID-19 fallout.
The decision to go through with this plan has made a lot of buzz on social media and environmental groups, with many expressing concerns about the environmental impact that the flights will have. The concern is justified though, as it has been proven to be a big contributor to the global carbon footprint. SIA does share its environmental efforts on their website, but currently, at the time of writing, there are no developments to their story or decision.
COVID-19 has affected Mexico as badly as it has affected the rest of the world. The travel restrictions, closing of facilities in order to keep people safe, many have had their livelihoods affected by the pandemic. To help boost the country’s economy and help those affected by it, Mexico has decided to reopen the country’s archaeological site such as the pyramids of Teotihuacan, a UNESCO World Heritage site, a popular tourist spot.
Not forgetting that COVID-19 is still a threat, the reopening does come with additional safety measures. The main archeological zone is limited to only 3,000 visitors per day, temperature checks and masks are required at the site as well. After 5 months of closure, the reopening was very well received by the general public.
Singapore and Hong Kong are starting to show interest in talks of gradual resumption of cross-border travel between the two. Citing strong business and social ties, the resumption will be beneficial for both.
Currently, Hong Kong is already in talks with Japan and Thailand, to set up for a similar arrangement. In addition to Japan and Thailand, Hong Kong has also expressed interest in a travel bubble with 11 countries, among them is Singapore.
Currently, Singapore has travel arrangements with China, Malaysia, Brunei, New Zealand, South Korea, and Japan
Hawaii has been playing with the idea of opening its borders for a few months now. Recently, due to the change in leadership, it has been reported that Hawaii is set to begin a testing program to let incoming passengers avoid quarantine if they are tested no earlier than 72 hours before arriving to the island state. Travelers will have to also have an FDA-approved nucleic acid amplification test (NAAT) done and have to show proof of their negative COVID test from a CLIA certified laboratory. Currently, the pre-travel COVID-19 test is targeted that the new scheme will be in place by 15 October this year.
Tourism is a big part of Hawaii’s economy but with the uncertainty of COVID-19, the number of cases can directly impact whether this tentative reopening will start according to the target date. For more information on this scheme, please check with Hawaiian authorities.
Carrying on with the ‘Quarantine-Free’ travel theme, Singapore and Thailand have been added onto England and Scotland’s Quarantine-free list. Starting from 4 AM, 19 September 2020, travelers from Singapore and Thailand will not have to self-isolate or quarantine themselves upon arrival in England or Scotland. The prerequisite of this is that the traveler must not have been in or transited through any other non-exempt countries in the preceding 14 days. To learn more about this, please check with the travel advisories from the authorities of the respective countries.
Cruise company P&O will be extending its suspension of all sailing until 2021. Earlier on, it was planned that they will be resuming it from mid-November, but with the evolving restrictions on travel from the UK, they have decided to extend the suspension. Guests who have booked on canceled cruises will be reached out by the company with refunds available.
This comes in line with their parent company, Carnival Corporation’s announcement to sell off 12% of their fleet and after the news that P&O is planning to cut 450 jobs across the cruises to keep the company afloat.
Vietnam is set to resume international commercial flights to multiple Asian destinations starting from Friday, 18 September 2020. This arrangement, however, is reserved for Vietnamese nationals, diplomats, experts, managers, skilled workers, investors, and their families. In general, this arrangement is reserved for business and official travel only and does not include tourists.
The countries included in these flights are South Korea, Japan, China, Taiwan, Cambodia, and Laos. As with other flights during this time, travelers are required to have a negative COVID-19 test certificate and travelers will be tested upon arrival and kept in quarantine if required. Please check with the respective authorities for more details on the travel arrangement.
Singapore Airlines announced that they will no longer be flying direct from Singapore to Canberra, as reported by ABC news. This was decided based on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the aviation industry pushing them to make this decision along with the laying off of over 4,300 staff from their workforce.
Currently, Singapore Airlines will suspend services to Canberra, Dusseldorf, Stockholm, and Wellington from their network of flights.
A few weeks ago, it was reported that United Airlines has made the decision to get rid of their change fees. Now, other airlines in the United States are following suit. All of the airlines, except for JetBlue, have eliminated the change fees which has been a costly fee associated with domestic flights. This will affect the fees of not only domestic flights but will also affect some short-haul flights to the Caribbean, Mexico, and Canada for some airlines.
There you have it, you are now caught up with the latest and most prominent travel news this week!
Happy Weekend and Stay Safe!