Singapore-Hong Kong travel bubble back on

April 26, 2021
The Singapore-Hong Kong air travel bubble is due to start May 26. Image: Cathay Pacific.

The on-again, off-again Singapore-Hong Kong travel bubble is back on again with plans to launch on May 26.

The bubble will start cautiously with one flight a day in each direction capped at 200 passengers each for the first two weeks.

Conditions include remaining in either city for 14 days prior to departure, downloading each city’s contact tracing app and testing negative no more than 72 hours prior to departure and again on arrival.

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The move comes after an aborted attempt to start a travel bubble in November last year and a more recent halt to Singapore Airlines flights to Hong Kong after a passenger tested positive.

Singapore’s Transport Ministry said Monday that both parties had reviewed the arrangements for the air travel bubble (ATB) and made several improvements, including stricter conditions for a resumption should the deal be suspended due to COVID-19 clusters in either city.

“Since then, the COVID-19 situation in Hong Kong has improved, with very few local unlinked COVID-19 cases over the past few weeks,’’ it said.

“Community cases in Singapore remained very low throughout the time. The risk profiles of both cities are therefore now similar.”

Hong Kong carrier Cathay Pacific Monday welcomed the resumption of the two-way quarantine-free bubble and said it plans to fly the service using Airbus A350-900 aircraft.

It said the flights would be operated by cabin crew and pilots who had been fully vaccinated.

“With travel having been difficult for everyone over the past year, we know that our customers have been eagerly anticipating the launch of our Hong Kong-Singapore air travel bubble flights so that they can rediscover the joy of flying,’’ Cathay said.

“We believe the safe and secure bubble flights will be a milestone showcase for the opening of similar travel arrangements with other popular destinations.”

The first bubble flight will operate as CX759 departing Hong Kong on May 26 with a return flight, CX734, heading back from Singapore on May 27.

The flights will operate May 27, May 29 and June 1, 3, 5, 6 and 8 until June 10, when Cathay will start operating daily return flights.