Quarantine-free trial introduced between Singapore and Hong Kong

Credit: Hugh Llewelyn

The new initiative hopes to act as a step forward towards the industry’s recovery

A quarantine-free air travel bubble between Hong Kong SAR and the Republic of Singapore has been established in a progressive attempt to aid the sector in its recovery.

The new initiative, which has been welcomed by Airports Council International (ACI) Asia-Pacific, is available for all types of travellers.

“This is a positive and important first step to travel recovery for leisure travel, to revive the Changi air hub. In 2019, Hong Kong was among Changi Airport’s top routes for passenger traffic,” said Lee Seow Hiang, CEO of Changi Airport Group (CAG).

“CAG will work closely with both governments and relevant organisations to implement the necessary safeguards to ensure safe travel for the residents of both cities.”

It has been suggested by the Air Transport Action Group (ATAG) that around 26 million jobs are at risk within the aviation sector across Asia-Pacific and the Middle East. This is due to the loss of connectivity caused by the COVID-19 crisis.

Due to the impact of the pandemic, the ACI has said that for the full year of 2020 revenue for Asia-Pacific is at -55.1%, with the Middle East at -59.6%.

Stefano Baronci, director general of ACI Asia-Pacific, believes there should be wider acknowledgement for pre-departure tests: “We encourage governments to mutually recognise test results based on a commonly-accepted protocol, preferably based on pre-departure tests, thereby saving the passenger the ordeal of being subjected to multiple tests on a round trip.”

ACI has been very vocal when calling for the safe re-opening of borders without a quarantine period. They have asked for a coordinated approach to testing, with either implementing testing measures on departure or arrival.