Asia Pacific Digest
  • Regulations
24 March 2022

Reopening Borders Growing Significant Momentum in Southeast Asia


IATA welcomes Singapore’s announcement to open its border further to all vaccinated travelers for quarantine-free entry into Singapore from 1 April 2022. This is certainly a positive step forward and a shot in the arm for the aviation sector, and will enable airlines to ramp up their services in the recovery phase.

IATA also welcomes the decision to remove the requirement for testing on arrival into Singapore. Lesser restrictions will encourage people to take to the skies again and boost demand further.


Announcement by the Malaysian government to open its border to quarantine free travel for vaccinated travelers from 1 April 2022 was long awaited and welcome by the aviation industry. It was a good step forward, as aviation provides the needed connections and linkages to facilitate commerce, trade and the movement of people. This will allow Malaysia to reap the social and economic benefits of aviation given its contribution to jobs and GDP.

IATA hopes that in the next phase of opening, the Malaysia government will replace PCR testing with Antigen ART testing for pre-departure testing initially, but will eventually do away with pre-departure and post arrival testing for all vaccinated passengers.

Other States

We have seen other significant moves in the region to reopen borders recently, including Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam. This means many key markets in Asia will become more accessible to each other, restoring crucial air connectivity to the rest of the world.

In December 2021, international passenger demand in the Asia Pacific region was only 13% of 2019 levels, way behind other regions in the world. Air travel will become freer and more normalized when travel restrictions and health protocols that are no longer necessary or relevant are sunset as the pandemic is accepted as endemic. We have seen moves by more and more States to remove the requirement for pre-departure and on arrival testing. So, we hope the pre-departure testing will also be removed in time to come. This will give yet another boost to the aviation sector’s journey towards a full recovery.

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