SIA to operate daily Singapore-Beijing flights for Winter Olympics, with Changi Airport as 'connecting hub'
SINGAPORE: Singapore Airlines (SIA) will operate daily flights between Singapore and Beijing from Jan 21 to Mar 16 next year, for officials and athletes who are attending the Winter Olympics.
"The flights are for both Singapore and foreign Olympic officials and athletes," SIA said on Thursday (Dec 30) in response to CNA's queries.
This comes after an annual top-level bilateral meeting between Singapore and China on Wednesday, when Transport Minister S Iswaran said that the airline will operate chartered flights to support the Games.
"While air connectivity between our countries remains below 3 per cent of pre-COVID levels, the Beijing Winter Olympics in February 2022 will be a good opportunity for us to enhance people-to-people exchanges as Singapore Airlines will be operating chartered flights through Changi Airport as a connecting hub for the region," Mr Iswaran wrote later in a Facebook post.
"We will also continue bilateral discussions on mutual recognition of COVID-19 health certificates, which is a key enabler for safe travel."
The Winter Olympics are due to begin on Feb 4, 2022.
It will rely on chartered and temporary flights to bring in athletes and other attendees, with commercial flights as a supplement, Games official Zhang Liang had said during a briefing on Dec 10.
Athletes and other attendees will have to arrive at Beijing Capital International Airport before entering a closed loop, strictly separated from other areas of China, where they will remain for their entire stay before leaving.
Chinese and foreign airlines will participate in organising these temporary flights from cities like Hong Kong, Singapore, Paris and Tokyo, said Mr Zhang.
"During the peak periods of arrivals and departures to Beijing, an average of at least 15 inbound flights and 13 outbound flights can be provided every day," he added.
China has put in place strict limitations on flights into the country amid some of the tightest COVID-19 controls in the world.
CNA has contacted the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore and Ministry of Health for more information on COVID-19 measures for the transit flights.