Air Bubble on the back burner

SINGAPORE, 23 July 2021: Discussions on reviving the Singapore-Hong Kong Air Travel Bubble have been pushed back to late August, according to a statement made by the Ministry of Transport.

Responding to media queries, Iswaran Singapore’s Minister for Transport and his counterpart Edward Yau, Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government, said both parties would remain in close contact and monitor the public health situation in both territories before taking stock in late August on the ATB.

Given the recent surge in community cases in Singapore and the enforcement of stricter Phase 2 (heightened alert) measures that will remain in place until 18 August 2021, discussions on reviving the Singapore-Hong Kong Air Travel Bubble (ATB) will resume only when the Covid-19 situation improves.

Singapore reported a record high of 182 new locally transmitted coronavirus cases on Tuesday.

A spokesman for the Hong Kong government said that, given the recent surge of cases in Singapore, the condition for launching the ATB “could not be met for the time being,” the Straits Times reported.

The scheme suffered postponements since its planned launch last November after a surge in cases in Hong Kong. Then it got pushed back to 26 May and derailed again when Singapore suffered a spike in Covid-19 cases.

Under the original rules, both sides can halt the ATB if the seven-day moving average of unlinked Covid-19 cases in either city exceeds five.

The latest figure for Hong Kong stands at zero and at 6.4 for Singapore, meaning the basic requirements to consider a relaunch cannot be met currently.