Hong Kong and Singapore overcome travel restrictions
According to the aviation authorities in Singapore, the ‘Air Travel Bubble’ (ATB) will be introduced from 22nd November 2020. The ATB is a concept co-created by Hong Kong and Singapore which will permit residents in these Asian countries to travel from Singapore to Hong Kong and vice versa. This type of travel will not subject passengers travelling between these countries to self-isolate before or after travel nor be party to restrictive travel measures.
The justification behind this new initiative is to revive air travel in both Hong Kong and Singapore, with a dual role of aiding economic recovery. Furthermore, it is hoped that this will encourage other countries deliberating on whether to open their borders to action this, despite the lingering COVID-19 climate.
To introduce this method of travel in a safe and COVID-19 compliant manner, there are conditions and staggered steps that must be taken. Firstly, passengers will be required to take a COVID19 test and prove a negative test result before departure. Secondly, passengers will only be eligible for this travel if they have not travelled anywhere else abroad within the last 14 days of their departure date. Finally, travel will be restricted to 1 flight per day consisting of a maximum of 200 passengers. This will gradually be increased to 2 flights per day with the same passenger quota from the beginning of December.
Ultimately, this is a progressive step in terms of travel and generating income by the Asian aviation sector. It appears that COVID-19 outbreaks in these countries are subsiding and this is being maintained by Asian authorities because of the reduced numbers of coronavirus cases in many regions, thus allowing this course of travel action. With travel having been put on hold for months on end, this can be viewed as a milestone. It means that this could lead to more countries opening their borders and further facilitating the operation of aviation and income from this.
However, the question of how long the ATB will last remains unanswered for we do not know whether there could be another spike and potentially, more lockdowns in these countries and even all around the world.
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