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SIA quarantine-free flight brings international travellers back to Melbourne

SIA quarantine-free flight brings international travellers back to Melbourne

A Singapore Airlines flight landed in Melbourne Airport on Nov 21, 2021. (Photo: Facebook/Melbourne Airport)

SINGAPORE: A Singapore Airlines (SIA) flight landed in Melbourne Airport on Sunday (Nov 21), marking the first time international travellers have been allowed to travel into Victoria state without having to serve quarantine. 

"We are so excited that travel is getting back to normal and we can't wait to welcome travellers to Melbourne from all over the world," said Melbourne Airport in a Facebook post. 

Last month, the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) announced it would extend its quarantine-free vaccinated travel lane (VTL) scheme to Australia from Nov 8.

However, two-way travel applied only to fully vaccinated Australian citizens, permanent residents and their immediate families due to Australia's border measures. 

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison subsequently announced that Australia would reopen its borders to all vaccinated Singaporeans from Nov 21.

More than 50,000 Singaporeans live in Australia, and about 25,000 Australians live in Singapore.

In a Facebook post on Sunday, SIA said it was "pleased to bridge Singapore and Australia once again", via its For Eligible Passengers Only (FEPO) flights from Singapore to Melbourne and Sydney.

"Fully-vaccinated Singaporeans can now travel from Singapore to Sydney or Melbourne, quarantine-free if they meet the eligibility criteria," said SIA. 

On its website, SIA said fully vaccinated Australian citizens, permanent residents and their immediate family members, as well as foreign nationals holding a valid visa and travel restriction exemption are eligible for these flights. 

They will also not be required to serve quarantine upon arrival. 

Vaccinated Singaporeans will be able to enter Australia without the need to quarantine upon arrival from Sunday, said SIA. 

In addition, SIA will fly Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Facilitated Flights from Singapore to Darwin from Nov 2 to Nov 27 for Australian citizens, permanent residents and their immediate family members. 

Eligible fully vaccinated passengers can fly back to Singapore from Australia via the VTL flights, the company added. 

According to a Reuters report, a group of international university students was among those who arrived in Australia from Singapore on Sunday. 

Catriona Jackson, chief executive of Universities Australia, which represents 39 universities, said the flights from Singapore saw the first international students enter Australia since small numbers returned in November last year.

"We understand these initial numbers are small, but they are a clear signal of the intent to allow many more students to return to classes and our communities soon," Jackson said. 

There are about 130,000 international students remaining outside Australia, she added.

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Source: AGENCIES/lk

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