The inaugural Air Travel Bubble (ATB) flights between Singapore and Hong Kong was confirmed on 22 November 2020, but due to cases rising in Hong Kong, has been postponed for two weeks.
The bubble would have allowed quarantine-free, air travel between the two Asian hubs but with the recent spike in coronavirus infections in Hong Kong forced the decision on postponing everything for two weeks. We will keep you updated on the matter.
The great progress in containing the spread of COVID-19 in both countries of Singapore and Hong Kong has given the confidence to the governments to reopen borders gradually, with safeguards in place to ensure our public health and safety. It will start with an initial one flight a day into each city, according to the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS). Travellers between the two cities will have to take dedicated flights, with a maximum of 200 passengers each way, plus take COVID-19 tests and have a negative result. This travel bubble will not be subject to quarantine or stay-home notice.
If you want to plan a trip to Hong Kong from Singapore, here are some things to bear in mind if you are thinking about it seriously!
In a nutshell, this is a quick overview of what you need to know about the Singapore-Hong Kong Air Travel Bubble
- The Travel Bubble between Singapore-Hong Kong kicks off on November 22nd 2020 (postponed until further notice) with one flight a day.
- There will be a quota of 200 passengers per flight each way.
- There will be more flights to 2 a day into each city from December 7th 2020.
Who Is Eligible To Travel during the Singapore-Hong Kong Air Travel Bubble
- Anyone who remained in Singapore and/or in Hong Kong in the last 14 consecutive days prior to departure is eligible to travel for the Singapore-Hong Kong ATB (Air Travel Bubble).
- Exclusions: Holders of work permits or S-Passes issued by Singapore’s Manpower Ministry working in the construction, marine shipyard or process sectors.
Hurray, there are no restrictions on the purpose of travel and no requirement for a controlled itinerary or sponsorship!
However, for Singapore, holders of work permits and S Passes in the construction, marine shipyard or process sectors are excluded from the arrangement. Travellers from Hong Kong, must apply for an Air Travel Pass between seven and 30 days before their intended date of entry into Singapore. Singapore citizens, permanent residents and long-term pass holders are exempt from this requirement. Meaning that if you are in Singapore under a Tourist Visa, you will have to apply for it.
Lon-Term Pass Holders are Long Term Visit Pass (LTVP) from the MOM definition: “The Long-Term Visit Pass (LTVP) is for a common-law spouse, step-child or handicapped child of an Employment Pass (EP) or S Pass holder. Pass holders earning over $12,000 can also get a pass for parents.”
From people we know that have travelled recently under DP (Dependant Pass) and EP (Employment Pass), they had to apply, so our advice would be to double check as rules and regulations regarding this change very quickly.
There is no need to apply for an Air Travel Pass to enter Singapore. However, Long-Term Pass holders will still have to seek entry approval from the relevant Singapore Government agencies before travelling to Singapore.
What are the tests you will need to travel for the Singapore-Hong Kong Air Travel Bubble
- Travellers will have to take a pre-departure COVID-10 Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test within 72 hours before the scheduled departure time of the flight.
- Negative result is obviously a requirement and there are no exceptions to avoid taking the PCR test.
- Find on this trusted link the list of recognized testing sites you can go for your PCR test in Singapore: go.gov.sg/covid19pcrtestproviders
- Travellers must also submit a health declaration and present this at the airport when they arrive, according to information on Hong Kong’s Tourism Commission website.
- If you test positive at any given time: If you test positive for COVID-19 while in Hong Kong or Singapore, you will have to bear the full cost of any medical treatment, subject to the prevailing medical and healthcare policies.
Travellers from Singapore will be tested for COVID-19 three times in total:
1) Before departing from Singapore
2) Upon arriving in Hong Kong: PCR test at HKIA airport and must book and pay for this test before departing from Singapore
3) Before departing from Hong Kong to Singapore: Must take a PCR test within 72 hours of their scheduled departure time at a recognized testing centre in Hong Kong. You must remain at in the HKIA airport until negative test results are confirmed. Children aged 12 or younger do not need to be tested before departing from Hong Kong.
Those who are planning to be tested before Dec 1 will need to apply for approval using a confirmed Hong Kong flight ticket at least 7 days before departure, before contacting and arranging their test with a recognized testing centre. From Dec 1, they will not need to seek approval.
What if my trip is less than 72 hours (3 days): If the time between the COVID-19 test upon arrival in Hong Kong and the departure from Hong Kong is less than 72 hours, travellers will not need to be tested again before leaving Hong Kong, according to information on the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority’s website. Although, make sure you can present your earlier negative test result to airline staff members when checking in for their return flight to Singapore. Same the other way around, Hong Kong travellers whose pre-departure test in Hong Kong was taken less than 72 hours before their return flight will not need to be tested again before leaving Singapore, according to information on Hong Kong’s Tourism Commission website. Bet you there will be a lot of confusion about this!
Important details to know before departing from Singapore
- At all times until further notice from the Hong Kong Government, travellers must also submit a health declaration and present this at the airport when they arrive, according to information on Hong Kong’s Tourism Commission website.
Before December 1st 2020:
- Travellers must apply for approval to take the pre-departure COVID-19 PCR tests.
- Applications must be made at least 7 days before departure and travellers need a confirmed flight ticket to Hong Kong in order to apply.
- Applications are done at go.gov.sg/caaspdt.
After December 1st 2020:
- Travellers do not need to apply for approval to take pre-departure COVID-19 PCR test in Singapore.
How will it be once you land in Hong Kong during the Singapore-Hong Kong Air Travel Bubble
- Travellers must take a COVID-19 test upon arrival at Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA). Yes, this will be your second test of the journey if you want to travel to Hong Kong from Singapore.
- Travellers must book and pay for the post-arrival COVID-19 PCR test at the HKIA airport before departing Singapore and have to remain in HKIA until they receive the negative results.
Flight Frequency for the Singapore-Hong Kong Air Travel Bubble
From November 22 to December 6th 2020, there will be only one flight a day each way with a limit of 200 passengers on board.
From December 7th 2020, it will increase to two flights a day each way with the same quota of 200 passengers for each flight.
Flights on the air travel bubble are operated by Singapore Airlines and soon Cathay Pacific according to the following schedule:
What are the safety measures during my trip?
Obviously, you must wear a mask during your air travel in the plane. All travellers must comply with prevailing public health and safe distancing measures in both countries of Singapore and Hong Kong:
- Wearing masks at all time following each countries restrictions.
- Observing limits on group gatherings.
- Follow the exact pandemic rules of the respective country.
For Hong Kong Visitors coming to Singapore
Once in Singapore, Hong Kong travellers have to download and register for the TraceTogether app on their mobile phones, and keep it checking-in everywhere like the locals during their stay. This includes entering cabs, MRT stations, restaurants, hotels, in a nutshell: everywhere! They must also keep the TraceTogether app on their phones for 14 days after leaving Singapore.
How long will the Air Travel Bubble between Singapore and Hong Kong last?
Well as you know, this is a first step towards being able to travel again. With cases everywhere else in the world going up, both governments will have to be extremely careful to avoid another breakout of cases in either countries.
The Air Travel Bubble between Singapore and Hong Kong is then subject to be suspended for two weeks if the seven-day moving average of the daily number of unlinked COVID-19 cases is more than five in Singapore or Hong Kong.
Then, arrangement will resume if the seven-day moving average falls to five or fewer on the last day of the suspension period.
So, are you ready to travel to Hong Kong or vice versa yet? Let us know and make sure to also read about the latest updates from the Hong Kong Government regarding the ATB.