Singapore, Malaysia to launch joint VTL between Changi Airport, KLIA

·Assistant News Editor
·3 min read
A link bridge to a terminal at Changi Airport.
A link bridge to a terminal at Changi Airport. (PHOTO: Roslan Rahman/AFP via Getty Images)

Update: Added the airlines running the six daily designated services between the airports in Singapore and Kuala Lumpur

SINGAPORE — Singapore will launch a joint Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) with neighbouring Malaysia for travel between Changi Airport and Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) from 29 November, its transport minister S Iswaran said on Monday (8 November).

For a start, there will be six daily designated services between the two airports, with AirAsia, Jetstar Asia, Malaysia Airlines, Malindo Air, Scoot and Singapore Airlines operating these services, the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore said separately in a media release on 18 November. 

The reopening only covers air travel, and does not include land travel via the Causeway or Tuas Second Link.

Vaccinated Travel Pass applications for short-term visitors and long-term pass holders will commence on 22 November, while fully-vaccinated returning Singaporeans and permanent residents need not apply. 

Iswaran said that the two countries' Prime Ministers, Lee Hsien Loong and Ismail Sabri Yaacob, spoke earlier in the day to take stock of discussions on the VTL launch.

"Both Prime Ministers noted the significant progress that our countries have made in vaccinating our populations and managing the COVID-19 pandemic. They agreed that it is timely to progressively resume bilateral cross-border travel," he said.

PM Lee also added in a post on his Facebook page, “We are also discussing reopening travel across the Causeway and the Second Link. We look forward to launching a similar VTL scheme between Singapore and Johor in the near future.”

An estimated 100,000 Malaysians have been stuck in Singapore since borders closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic in March last year.

Currently, the two countries have implemented the Periodic Commuting Arrangement scheme, which facilitates movement of workers between both countries, allowing for cross-border travel but with various conditions, including a stay-home notice.

The Ministry of Health will also upgrade its public health assessment of Malaysia from Category III to II from Friday.

Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) guide for Singaporeans and permanent residents (Infographic: Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore)
Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) guide for Singaporeans and permanent residents (Infographic: Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore)

VTLs extended to Finland and Sweden

This will be Malaysia's first VTL, while Singapore had earlier announced VTLs with 13 other countries, including Australia, Britain and the United States. 

Travellers entering Singapore under this scheme do not have to serve a stay-home notice, but will instead take a COVID-19 polymerase chain reaction test prior to departure and upon arrival.

It will now extend the VTLs to Finland and Sweden from 29 November, with applications for short-term visitors and long-term pass holders commencing on 22 November.

With the extension, Iswaran said that Singapore will increase its daily quota for the VTL scheme from 4,000 travellers to 6,000 travellers from that date.

Singapore will also be expanding the types of tests recognised as a valid pre-departure test (PDT) for all travellers arriving in or transiting through Singapore from Category II or III countries and regions, including those arriving via VTL.

From 11.59pm on Thursday, the city-state will accept a negative, professionally-administered antigen rapid test (ART) result, taken within two days prior to departure.

Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) guide for short-term visitors and long-term pass holders (Infographic: Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore)
Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) guide for short-term visitors and long-term pass holders (Infographic: Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore)

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