Singapore and Hong Kong Monday agreed to set May 26, 2021 as the launch date for their Air Travel Bubble (ATB).
It was originally planned to start in November 2020 but was deferred by both parties due to the worsening COVID-19 situation in Hong Kong.
At a virtual press conference here today, the Singapore Minister for Transport Ong Ye Kung said he was happy that Hong Kong got the COVID-19 situation under control.
Ong noted that re-launch date was announced a month prior, among others, to get the industry as well as potential travellers ready and to consider their travel plans.
The minister said that both sides will need to stay very vigilant in the next one month, so that both parties can launch the first flights smoothly.
“It is a significant ATB between two aviation and financial services hubs in Asia,” he said.
Since the deferment, the republic’s Ministry of Transport said both parties 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, it said.
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,” it said.
Meanwhile, Singapore Airlines (SIA) welcomes the decision to start the ATB arrangement on May 26.
“This is an important milestone in our recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic, and helps to establish confidence in the safe resumption of international air travel with the necessary protocols in place,” said the airline in a statement.
SIA said it strongly support all efforts to open the Singapore air hub up in a safe and calibrated manner.
“We will continue to be nimble and flexible in adjusting our capacity to meet the demand for air travel,” it said.
The inaugural SIA ATB flight from Singapore to Hong Kong, SQ882, will depart on May 26 while inaugural SIA ATB flight from Hong Kong to Singapore, SQ883, will depart on May 28, it said.
Source: NAM News Network