With this travel bubble, leisure and other forms of travel between both destinations will be allowed without the need to be quarantined or to serve a stay-home notice period. Anyone who has lived 14 days in the territory of either party, regardless of age and nationality, will be eligible to travel. Those travelling under the bubble will have no restrictions on their travel purpose and will not need to have a controlled itinerary, said the Ministry of Transport on Thursday (15 October).
Instead, travellers have to test negative for the Covid-19 virus, likely before they depart. They also have to be on dedicated flights, with no transit travellers being allowed on these flights. There will be a quota on the number of flights plying both sides, but no numbers have been revealed so far. Furthermore, flights could be adjusted or even suspended, depending on the Covid-19 situation in both locations.
The arrangement is part of a new in-principle agreement between the two cities. More details as well as the start date are currently being worked out, but the arrangement could likely begin in several weeks – meaning that, if all goes well, you could be feasting on authentic dim sum or dining at a cha chaan teng in Hong Kong before the end of 2020.
In a press statement, Minister of Transport Ong Ye Kung said both cities recognised that they have “quite successfully controlled the epidemic” and incidence rates are low in both regions. The move is a “small but significant step” because both Hong Kong and Singapore are regional, even global, aviation hubs. “For the two of us to be able to control the epidemic and to come together to discuss and establish this air traffic bubble, hopefully this sets a model, a template, for us to forge more of such relationships and partnerships.”
The announcement follows an earlier statement by Ong on 6 October, which outlined how Singapore is negotiating air travel bubbles with safe countries or regions in a bid to revive air travel. Singapore already has a number of reciprocal green lane arrangements meant for business and official travellers.
In a press release, the Hong Kong Tourism Board says it welcomes the move, adding that it matches well with the its launch of a standardised hygiene protocol for tourism related sectors with the Hong Kong Quality Assurance Agency. This means there will be a unified set of guidelines on hygiene and anti-epidemic measures for tourism-related industries.
It also shares that it intends to roll out a “Open House Hong Kong” promotional campaign once the Air Travel Bubble commencement date is announced. Supported by trade partners in various sectors, “Open House Hong Kong encompasses a collection of competitive tactical offers in airfares and accommodations with a view to attract inbound visitors to Hong Kong.
The information is accurate as of press time. For updated information, please refer to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ website.
To learn more about Singapore Airlines flights, visit singaporeair.com.