Delayed Hong Kong-Singapore travel bubble nears launch date

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Hong Kong and Singapore have agreed on the launch date for the long-awaited air travel bubble. The quarantine-free travel between Asia’s two business and financial hubs will begin on May 26, 2021.

The air travel bubble between Hong Kong and Singapore will commence “cautiously” with only one flight a day to each destination with a maximum of 200 passengers on each flight for the first two weeks. Only passengers who have remained for 14 consecutive days in either city prior to departure will be granted the possibility to travel. Additionally, all travelers flying from Hong Kong will be required to provide proof of vaccination. No similar requirements have been outlined for Singaporean citizens.

Furthermore, passengers from both cities will be required to download a contact-tracking app prior to their departure. Visitors will also have to take pre-departure and on-arrival COVID-19 swab tests. The travel bubble will be suspended if the seven-day moving average of unlinked community cases in either city increases to above five, according to the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS).

 “I am happy that Hong Kong got the COVID-19 situation under control. It has been a long few months, but the conditions are now ripe again to re-launch the ATB (Air Travel Bubble). Both sides will need to stay very vigilant in the next one month, so that we can launch the first flights smoothly,” said Mr Ong Ye Kung, Minister for Transport of the Republic of Singapore.

The Hong Kong-Singapore travel bubble was initially scheduled to launch on November 22, 2020. However, due to the worsening COVID-19 situation in Hong Kong, quarantine-free travel was deferred until the health matter was resolved. 

Currently, air travel bubble flights will be operated only by Cathay Pacific and Singapore Airlines (SIA1) (SINGY). Cathay Pacific for operations to Singapore will use Airbus A350-900 aircraft. The inaugural CX759 flight from Hong Kong will depart on May 26, 2021 while the first CX734 flight from Singapore will depart on May 27, 2021. All flights to Singapore will be conducted with fully vaccinated pilots and cabin crew, according to Cathay Pacific. 


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