Launch of Singapore-Hong Kong air travel bubble likely to be postponed

The planned launch of an air travel bubble (ATB) between Singapore (SIN) and Hong Kong (HKG) looks likely to be suspended again after Singapore tightened its COVID-19 restrictions.

This will be the second time the SIN-HKG bubble has failed to take off. The ATB was initially planned to take effect on May 23.

Singapore transport minister Ong Ye Kung said the ministry will review the start date of the ATB and a decision will be made next week on when it will commence.

“Given the rising [COVID-19] cases in Singapore, it is very likely that Singapore will not be able to meet the resumption criteria" to allow the ATB to start, Ong said at a press conference. "What we'll do now is closely monitor the numbers over the next few days, critically review the start date and early next week we will make a decision ... on the Singapore-Hong Kong air travel bubble."

Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA) DG Subhas Menon said: "Governments will only allow travel bubbles between places where the virus spread is under control and mass vaccination is well underway ... As long as governments are pursuing a policy of eradication, travel bubbles will be subject to stops and starts. Hopefully very soon governments will be confident about the control of the virus in their territories.”

Photo credit: Roslan Rahman / AFP / Getty Images

Chen Chuanren

Chen Chuanren is the Southeast Asia and China Editor for the Aviation Week Network’s (AWN) Air Transport World (ATW) and the Asia-Pacific Defense Correspondent for AWN, joining the team in 2017.