SINGPORE, Nov 11 — The Air Travel Bubble (ATB) arrangement between Singapore and Hong Kong will be a useful model for other bilateral arrangements around the world.
The inaugural ATB flights between two aviation hubs will be on Nov 22, 2020, following the conclusion of negotiations earlier this week.
“The Singapore-Hong Kong ATB enables us to achieve two objectives at the same time, open up our borders in a controlled manner, while maintaining safety in our societies,” he republic’s Minister for Transport Ong Ye Kung told a virtual press conference today.
“It will be a useful reference for other countries and regions that have controlled the epidemic, and are contemplating opening their borders,” he said.
Under the ATB, travellers between Singapore and Hong Kong will be subject to COVID-19 tests, in lieu of quarantine or Stay-Home Notice.
There will be no restrictions on the purpose of travel and no requirement for a controlled itinerary or sponsorship like the Reciprocal Green Lane (RGL).
Travellers from both cities must travel on designated ATB flights that will only serve ATB travellers.
As a start, there will be one flight a day into each city with a quota of 200 travellers per flight and it will be increased to two flights a day into each city with the same quota per flight from Dec 7, 2020.
If the COVID-19 situation deteriorates in either city, the travel bubble arrangements will be suspended.
Meanwhile, Singapore Airlines chief executive officer Goh Choon Phong said the ATB arrangement is an important step for Singapore and Hong Kong as both rebuild from the impact of the pandemic, and support the ongoing recovery of the airline industry.
“It paves the way for us to open up in a safe and calibrated way with the necessary testing protocols in place, and provides a promising model for other bilateral arrangements around the world,” Goh said in a separate statement.
Within the SIA Group, SIA will operate ATB flights to Hong Kong while Scoot will operate the non-ATB flights.