Travel between Singapore and Hong Kong is set to resume on 26 May 2021, as both countries are due to launch the Singapore-Hong Kong Air Travel Bubble (ATB).

In a press release yesterday, Singapore's Ministry of Transport announced that both countries will closely monitor the COVID-19 situation from now to the targeted launch date of 26 May 2021, and will proceed with the launch if the situation continues to be steady and under control in both cities.

The Singapore-Hong Kong ATB will start cautiously, with one flight a day in each direction, capped at 200 passengers on each flight for the first two weeks, and review the numbers thereafter.

The Singapore-Hong Kong ATB was originally planned to start in November 2020, but was deferred by both parties due to the worsening COVID-19 situation in Hong Kong. During this period, both countries have reviewed the arrangements and made several improvements to the agreement. This includes stricter conditions for resumption of the ATB, should it be suspended due to new COVID-19 community clusters in either cities.

Since then, the COVID-19 situation in Hong Kong has improved, with very few local unlinked COVID-19 cases over the past few weeks. Community cases in Singapore remained very low throughout the time. The risk profiles of both cities are therefore now similar.

Ong Ye Kung, Minister for Transport of the Republic of Singapore, said: "I am happy that Hong Kong got the COVID-19 situation under control. It has been a long few months, but the conditions are now ripe again to re-launch the ATB. Both sides will need to stay very vigilant in the next one month, so that we can launch the first flights smoothly. It is a significant ATB between two aviation and financial services hubs in Asia."

Edward Yau, Hong Kong's Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, said: "With gradual stabilisation of the fourth wave of epidemic in Hong Kong, we have been engaging in active discussion with Singapore on the re-launch of ATB. The two governments have reached consensus on the latest arrangements and will put in place more stringent public health protocols in response to the latest epidemic development. Our goal remains striking a right balance between public health and travel convenience so that the public will feel assured while providing certainty."

Yau added that the re-launch of ATB not only meets the aspirations of the people and business communities on cross-border travel, but also signifies that gradual resumption of cross-border travel is achievable through mutual collaborations among different places.

"We will continue to maintain communication with the Singapore Government and closely monitor the epidemic development of both places to ensure the smooth launch of ATB,” Yau added.

More details on the Singapore-Hong Kong ATB will be provided by the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore.

Photo / 123RF

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