Skies Reopened With Hong Kong – Singapore Travel Bubble
In the COVID-19 next normal, ‘travel bubble’ and ‘travel corridor’ are the new buzzwords. More and more countries have started to join in the talks of making pacts and establishing travel bubbles. For Hong Kong and Singapore, these plans are about to become a reality, and the success of the Hong Kong – Singapore travel bubble will be a remarkable achievement for both countries.
Skies Reopened With Travel Bubbles
A bilateral corridor or travel bubble is designed as a partnership between two countries with minimal COVID-19 cases and good infection control, to reopen their borders and allow two-way air travel. This bilateral corridor must ensure safety and public health while facilitating travelling as much as possible.
Typically, a travel bubble partnership consists of only two countries. Nevertheless, there are cases of three countries agreeing to create a travel corridor. Amongst them, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania were the first to come up with a trilateral pact. The Hong Kong and Singapore bilateral pact will bring plenty of benefits to the respective countries and its citizens.
Features of Hong Kong – Singapore Air Travel Bubble
The Secretary for Commerce & Economic Development has released a press statement on Hong Kong’s plans for the Air Travel Bubble (ATB). He explained that those travelling under the ATB agreement would have to pass with negative test results for the mutually recognized COVID-19 test. Apart from that, ATB travellers must only travel on flights that serve them. In other words, transit passengers and non-ATB travellers are not allowed to board the said flight, and transiting beyond Singapore and Hong Kong is not permitted as well.
A welcome disclosure from his media briefing was that there will be no restrictions on travel purpose of the travellers, and they will not be required to serve quarantine upon arrival. This is excellent news for both Singaporeans and Hong Kong citizens, seeing that there are no preconditions imposed on the type of travel purposed; meaning that leisure travel is among other types of trips allowed.
Finalizing of the Bilateral Corridor
According to the Commerce & Economic Development Bureau, the details of the Hong Kong – Singapore’s ATB is in the final stages. Should there be no sudden spikes in the number of COVID-19 cases in both countries and everything go well, the launch date will be announced soon. However, in an event of unforeseen circumstances, the Hong Kong – Singapore ATB plan will be duly modified to suit the timely needs, and the last resort may be to temporarily suspend the bilateral corridor.
The Future of Travel
On the road to the gradual recovery of air travel hubs, Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) and Singapore Changi Airport can expect to see an increase in the Asian international passenger traffic. The Hong Kong – Singapore ATB strives to rejuvenate both the tourism and aviation industries in the two countries. This bilateral corridor could potentially revolutionize how countries can create a controlled and safe travelling lane amidst a pandemic.