Singapore and Hong Kong travel bubble hangs in obscurity again?

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On May 4, 2021, Singapore announced plans to impose tighter travel restrictions with 21-day quarantine measures after the spike in local COVID-19 cases. The move prompted questions with regards to the Hong Kong-Singapore travel bubble, signaling that travel conditions between both cities might change.

During the COVID-19 multi-ministry press conference on May 4, 2021, Minister of Education Lawrence Wong responded to a reporter’s question with regards to the Hong Kong-Singapore travel corridor by saying that both cities remained in contact. However, the government would assess if changes on the quarantine-free travel with Hong Kong were needed. 

“We will monitor the situation and we will review and assess whether or not there will be any changes and give updates in due course,” Wong said. 

On April 26, 2021, Hong Kong and Singapore agreed on the launch date for the long-awaited air travel bubble. The quarantine-free travel between Asia’s two business and financial hubs is set to begin on May 26, 2021. This is the second attempt to launch the bubble, after the initial attempt on November 22, 2020 which came to no avail.

Singapore’s moves thus far have no official bearing on the travel bubble plans with Hong Kong scheduled to begin on May 26, 2021, as both cities have a clear threshold on the number of linked COVID-19 cases before the corridor is suspended.

According to the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS), the quarantine-free travel between Hong Kong and Singapore would be halted for two weeks if the seven-day moving average of the daily number of unlinked local cases is more than five in either city.

If nothing changes with regards to quarantine-free travel, the 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 by vaccinated pilots and cabin crew, according to Cathay Pacific. 


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