- Quarantine-free air travel between Singapore and Malaysia for the fully vaccinated is slated to resume on November 29.
- The program is slated to start with six designated services between Singapore and Malaysia each day.
- Before the pandemic, the one-hour flight was one of the busiest international air routes in the world.
The air route between Singapore and Malaysia — one of the world’s busiest air routes — is slated to open for quarantine-free travel for fully vaccinated individuals.
The two neighboring countries in Southeast Asia have strong business and people-to-people relations, which have been disrupted by the pandemic.
Leaders of the two countries said in a statement the move to resume cross-border travel comes as they “recognised that COVID-19 has disrupted people to people connections between the two countries, and separated families for many months.”
Both countries have made “significant progress” in vaccinating their populations and managing the pandemic, the statement added.
Before the pandemic, the one-hour flight between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur was one of the busiest international air routes in the world with 5.56 million seats available, according to travel data firm OAG. It ranked just behind flights between Hong Kong and Taipei, Taiwan.
To start, the quarantine-free travel program will only apply to six daily designated services between Singapore’s Changi Airport and Malaysia’s Kuala Lumpur International Airport, the statement specified.
While many Malaysians in Singapore welcomed news of the quarantine-free air travel program, some also said they are waiting for the reopening of land borders. Many took to social media, where they noted cost and convenience as factors.
“I would be more excited if the land border is reopening so it would be easier to go home for visits rather than planning a trip around Kuala Lumpur,” Loh Siew Chin, a Malaysian housewife who lives in Singapore, told Insider. She said she used to go home every few weeks, but has not seen her family living in Johor in nearly two years.
“My parents miss their grandchildren,” she added.
The Malaysian state of Johor borders Singapore, with a highway slightly shorter than the Brooklyn Bridge separating the two. Before the pandemic, many Malaysians and Singaporeans would commute to and from the two countries via the bridge — some taking daily trips for work and school, making the land crossing one of the busiest in the world.
Businesses, too, have been affected by cross-border travel restrictions and are looking to further easing of travel rules that will help with supply chains, logistics, and worker movements, reported Singapore’s Business Times.
“The air link will be welcome, but the land link is in dire need by the business community,” Kurt Wee, president of the Association of Small and Medium Enterprises (ASME), told the news outlet.