SINGAPORE – The spokes of the Singapore Flyer have begun turning again after four months of suspension, but the attraction’s operating hours will be cut by more than half for the safety of its guests amid the Covid-19 heath situation.

Singapore Flyer said that operations resumed on Friday (March 20) after getting approval from the authorities on Thursday.

A Flyer spokesman said the structural integrity of the attraction’s observation wheel has been thoroughly tested by experts, and said it is “(looking) forward to welcoming guests again”.

But it has taken some precautionary measures to allow guests to enjoy its flights and facilities “with a peace of mind”.

It will increase the frequency of cleaning, sanitising and disinfection of the wheel’s capsules.

Common areas and facilities throughout the premises will also be scrubbed more often.

Temperature screening will be mandatory for visitors and employees.

Its operating hours – initially from 8.30am to 10.30pm daily – will be reduced to just six hours, from 3pm to 9pm.

The flight operations of the wheel were suspended by the Building and Construction Authority in Nov 19 last year due to a glitch affecting a section of the outer layer of one of the spoke cables. It gave the Singapore Flyer the go-ahead to operate again on Thursday.

The Singapore Tourism Board has said that visitor arrivals this year are expected to fall by about 25 to 30 per cent as governments across the world impose border restrictions and people choose to stay home.

When asked if this affected the Flyer’s decision to restart operations, a spokesman said this forecast dip has already been taken into account.

“As one of the key players in Singapore’s tourism sector, we must play our part in supporting and initiating recovery plans,” she said.

During the Flyer’s suspension, its tenants at the retail section continued with normal business.

The attraction, which has become an icon of the Singapore skyline since its opening in 2008, has had its fair share of troubles over the years.

In December 2008, a fire broke out in the wheel control room, causing 173 passengers to be trapped for about six hours.

In July 2010, the ride was also shut down and more than 200 passengers were evacuated after lightning struck one of its electrical cables that supplied power to the air-conditioning systems.

Operations were suspended in January 2018 for two months due to a “technical issue”.

It is the second tallest observation wheel in the world, standing at a commanding 165m, and is only three metres shorter than the High Roller in Las Vegas.