Singapore Changi Airport Restarts City Bus Tours For Connecting Passengers

Credit: John Green/Alamy Stock Photo

Transfer and transit passengers at Singapore Changi Airport (SIN) with time to spare between flights will again be able to take a “Free Singapore Tour” bus trip to see sites in the island city.

The program, suspended because of the COVID-19 pandemic, is being restarted with plans to grow the tour options going forward. The program is a joint effort between Changi Airport Group, Singapore Airlines and the Singapore Tourism Board. 

Passengers embark on a 2.5-hr. bus tour to see a particular part of Singapore at no cost, and then return to the airport to catch their next flight. To take a tour, a passenger must have a layover of at least 5.5 hr., but less than 24 hr. Tours can be booked prior to a passenger’s airline trip via SIN’s website.

Three tours have returned, including a City Sights Tour, a Heritage Tour and a Jewel Tour, with a new Changi Precinct Tour added as a fourth option. According to Changi Airport Group, which manages and operates SIN, the program is aiming to ramp up to nine total daily tours.

Some 30% of SIN’s passengers transfer at the airport to another flight. Over 80,000 passengers took a Singapore bus tour in 2019. The top markets for passengers taking tours in 2019 were Australia, India and Indonesia. “Indian and Australian travelers [comprised] more than one third of the total participants,” according to Changi Group.

The added Changi Precinct Tour will enable passengers “to admire the rustic charms of Changi Village and Changi Beach … [and] offers a glimpse of how local residents live, and tells the tale of Singapore’s history on this part of the island, away from the usual hustle and bustle of Singapore’s city center,” Changi Group says in a statement.

Those interested in seeing the city center can take the City Sights Tour, which gives passengers an “introduction to Singapore’s urban development through visits to various national monuments including the National Gallery Singapore, Anderson Bridge and The Padang,” according to Changi Group. 

“The Free Singapore Tour was very popular among our transit and transfer passengers prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, and we are happy to bring it back with the resumption of travel,” Lim Ching Kiat, Changi Group’s executive VP of air hub and cargo Development, says. 

Chang Chee Pey, the Singapore Tourism Bureau’s assistant chief executive-marketing group, sees another potential benefit for Singapore: “We hope that the tour will inspire transit and transfer passengers to plan a longer trip to Singapore in the future and discover much more of what our vibrant city has to offer.”

Monster Day Tours has been contracted to run the tours.

Aaron Karp

Aaron Karp is a Contributing Editor to the Aviation Week Network.