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Singapore Airlines launches one-stop service for COVID-19 testing

Singapore Airlines launches one-stop service for COVID-19 testing

File photo of a Singapore Airlines Airbus A380 plane parked on the tarmac at Changi Airport on Oct 24, 2020. (Photo: AFP/Roslan Rahman)

SINGAPORE: Some Singapore Airlines (SIA) and SilkAir passengers can now streamline their arrangements for pre-departure COVID-19 testing with the launch of a new one-stop service on Wednesday (Jan 20).

The service allows passengers to book their pre-departure polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and serology tests, and receive their results on one online portal, SIA said in a press release.

Currently in its pilot phase, the service is available to SIA and SilkAir passengers departing from Singapore, Jakarta and Medan.

There are plans to expand the service to more cities in the airlines' network over the next few months if the pilot is successful, said SIA.

READ: Singapore to require all foreign inbound travellers from high-risk countries to take pre-departure COVID-19 PCR test

With the new service, passengers can book appointments for their tests with their preferred clinic from the list of recognised testing facilities on the portal.

They can book appointments up to 48 hours before their required testing window.

Passengers will receive their test results within 36 hours through the same portal, which they can then present upon check-in at the airport.

The test results come with a QR code that enables airport check-in staff and Singapore immigration authorities to verify the results under SIA's new digital health verification process.

The portal will also be able to house digital health passes documenting passengers' COVID-19 status, said SIA.

READ: Singapore Airlines receives highest rating for 'hospital-grade' health and safety in global audit

"Piloting this one-stop pre-departure test is part of our ongoing efforts to provide passengers with a vital service during this time, as well as a more seamless preflight experience," said Ms JoAnn Tan, SIA's senior vice-president for marketing planning.

The airline is partnering Collinson, a London-based company providing travel experience solutions, for the online portal.

"COVID-19 has brought challenges for businesses and individuals alike around the world, and while there's optimism that the rollout of vaccines will help to bring an end to the pandemic, there remains a complex road ahead," said Mr Todd Hancock, Collinson's president for Asia-Pacific.

"In order to restore confidence in travel, the implementation of safe and robust testing protocols remains key," he added.

READ: COVID-19 - Rigorous testing could help revive travel but challenges remain, say experts

The launch of the service comes as pre-departure testing is increasingly becoming a mandatory requirement for travel.

Except for Singapore citizens and permanent residents, travellers entering Singapore from high-risk countries are required to take a PCR test within 72 hours before their departure.

The majority of outbound routes from Singapore also require a negative result from a PCR test conducted within 72 hours prior to departure, according to the online portal.

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Source: CNA/dv(ac)

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