Malaysia and Singapore have jointly announced that both countries will begin cross-border air travel through the Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) which will begin from 29th November 2021. This was announced by both Malaysia Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob and Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. As both countries have made good progress with vaccinating their population against COVID-19, the two governments have agreed to progressively resume cross border which will help revive the economy, restore people-to-people ties and strengthen the bilateral partnership.
Under the VTL arrangement, travellers who are fully vaccinated will be able to travel between Malaysia and Singapore without quarantine but they would need to undergo a COVID-19 test. The VTL will start between Singapore’s Changi International Airport and Kuala Lumpur International Airport from 29th November 2021.
Both governments are still in discussion to open up cross-border travel by land through the Causeway and the Second Link. They are also looking at launching a similar VTL scheme between Johor and Singapore in the near future.
As of 7th November 2021, Malaysia has fully vaccinated over 24.5 million people or 75.2% of its total population. Meanwhile, Singapore has fully vaccinated over 4.7 million or 85% of its total population as of 6th November 2021.
In terms of new COVID-19 cases, Singapore currently has a 7-day average of 2,851 cases, while Malaysia has a 7-day average of 4,952 cases per day.
Last month, Malaysia has lifted interstate travel restrictions after 90% of adults have been fully vaccinated. Only fully vaccinated adults are allowed to board flights and Sabah currently requires travellers to provide a certified negative COVID-19 test result before entering the state. The government has also announced that it will open up Langkawi for international tourists under a travel bubble from the 15th November 2021.
Besides Malaysia, Singapore had also announced VTL with 13 other countries which include Australia, Switzerland, South Korea, Germany and Brunei. The Singapore – Kuala Lumpur sector is one of the busiest passenger air routes in the world with over 30,000 flights in 2018 alone. Singapore Airlines has recently deployed its Airbus A380 to fly between the two cities which makes it the world’s shortest A380 flight at the moment. When the A380 flight was announced, a return ticket costs as low as RM572 on economy.