Hong Kong & Singapore Reach Travel Bubble Agreement

The governments of Hong Kong and Singapore have reached an agreement on establishing a quarantine-free travel bubble between the two cities.

Conditions for the bilateral Air Travel Bubble (ATB) have been confirmed in principle and represent a significant milestone as countries in Asia edge towards reopening their borders in the wake of the global coronavirus pandemic.

Hong Kong and Singapore enjoy strong trade, investment, finance, tourism and people-to-people ties. Both cities are major aviation hubs, and the international air route between the two cities was among the busiest in the Asia-Pacific region pre-COVID-19. Subsequently, travel links between Hong Kong and Singapore are important for both cities.

Under the ATB, there will be no restrictions on travel purpose, although tour groups will not be able to travel yet. Travellers under the ATB will be subject to mutually recognised COVID-19 polymerase chain reaction tests and would need to have negative test results before they fly. Travellers will also not be subject to any quarantine or Stay-Home Notice requirements, or a controlled itinerary.

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However, travellers under the ATB will be required to travel on dedicated flights, which will only serve ATB travellers, and no transit passengers or non-ATB travellers will be allowed on board. The ATB will be scaled by adjusting the number of dedicated flights upwards or downwards, or even suspended, in line with the latest developments and COVID-19 situation in the two cities.

“I am pleased that both sides have agreed on the key features to underpin the expeditious conclusion of the ATB between two major international aviation hubs in the world,” says Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government, Edward Yau. “This is a milestone in our efforts to resume normalcy while fighting against the long-drawn battle of COVID-19. Hong Kong and Singapore enjoy long-time close and cordial co-operation on many fronts. I have every confidence that the ATB arrangement can come to fruition very soon to facilitate resumption of air travel between our two economies.”

The governments of Hong Kong and Singapore have reached an agreement on establishing a quarantine-free travel bubble between the two cities. 

“Both our cities have low incidence of COVID-19 cases and have put in place robust mechanisms to manage and control COVID-19,” says Minister for Transport of the Republic of Singapore, Ong Ye Kung. “This has given us the confidence to mutually and progressively open our borders to each other. It is significant that our two regional aviation hubs have decided to collaborate to establish an Air Travel Bubble. It is a safe, careful but significant step forward to revive air travel, and provide a model for future collaboration with other parts of the world.”

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The launch date of the Hong Kong-Singapore ATB and other implementation details will be announced in due course but the announcement will be welcomed by both business travellers between the two cities and the carriers that serve the busy route.

“We are grateful to the authorities in Hong Kong and Singapore for reaching this agreement, which importantly will enable passengers travelling between the two cities to do so without any restrictions on the purpose of their travel nor with any quarantine requirements for those with negative test results,” says Cathay Pacific Chief Customer and Commercial Officer Ronald Lam. “This is a milestone development for Hong Kong and an important first step in facilitating the resumption of regular air travel to and from our home hub.”

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The Art of Business Travel is Asia-Pacific's leading portal for corporate travel news and views. We cover everything from airline routes and airport developments, to new hotels, meeting venues, loyalty schemes, and entertaining.