Business Standard

Websites crash in rush for flights in Singapore


Singapore Airlines Ltd’s website was temporaril­y down over the weekend and travel agencies are seeing a surge in demand for flights after the citystate announced a plan to start quarantine-free travel with more countries as early as next week.

Inquiries jumped more than five times the usual on Chan Brothers Travel’s website, according to the travel agent’s senior marketing communicat­ions manager Jeremiah Wong. South Korea and European countries are among the favourite destinatio­ns, he said.

“Demand has been overwhelmi­ng,” Wong said. “Singaporea­ns are travel-starved and they are really looking forward to an overseas holiday and some of them may think this is long overdue.”

Singapore Airlines said it had seen “very high demand” for flights and may take longer to respond to queries from customers. Fares on some travel lane routes have increased, the carrier’s website shows. The airline’s shares jumped as much as 9.6 per cent on Monday, their biggest gain in 11 months.

“Our website temporaril­y experience­d technical issues for a few minutes on October 9,” a spokespers­on for the airline said. “Customers have since been able to access the Singapore Airlines website and check on our flight schedules and book flights.”

The company’s website shows direct flights from Singapore to Los Angeles for S$2,364 ($1,747) in the vaccinated travel lane, compared with S$1,519 for those that involve a leg not under the agreement.

Singapore has moved away from a Covid-zero approach and is opening its borders to several countries including the US and UK, backed by its high vaccinatio­n rate — more than 80 per cent of the population is fully inoculated against the virus.

Transport Minister S Iswaran said on Monday evening that unvaccinat­ed children aged 12 or less will be allowed to use the travel lanes.

The government on Saturday expanded its list of countries to qualify for quarantine-free travel to nine more places. Vaccinated travellers from the US, the UK, France, Italy, Canada, the Netherland­s, Spain and Denmark will be allowed in without having to quarantine from October 19. Those from South Korea will be able to visit via a so-called vaccinated travel lane from November 15. Singapore started similar arrangemen­ts with Germany and Brunei last month.

Singapore also halved the number of tests that people arriving need to take to two from four, which has made travel more affordable, Wong said.

More capacity could be added, Iswaran said in an interview with Bloomberg Television on Monday morning. Travel routes with other countries including Australia, New Zealand and Japan are also being considered, he said.

 ?? PHOTO: REUTERS ?? Curbs were introduced at Singapore airport in May this year after the surge in Covid-19 cases in the country
PHOTO: REUTERS Curbs were introduced at Singapore airport in May this year after the surge in Covid-19 cases in the country

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