Government AffairsResumption with Hong Kong "hopefully very soon", as Singapore becomes next travel bubble choice for Australia.

Bubble ball gazing: Hong Kong delayed, Australia next?

Australia is eyeing Singapore for next travel bubble after launching quarantine-free travel with New Zealand.
Australia is eyeing Singapore for next travel bubble after launching quarantine-free travel with New Zealand. Photo Credit: Getty Images/ronniechua

It appears the Hong Kong-Singapore bubble launch pegged for May has popped, after fresh reports said the two destinations have once again called off plans confirming dates for travel restart.

Both Hong Kong and Singapore have been experiencing a spike in recent cases, with the Lion City now rushing to manage a potential migrant dormitory cluster.

According to a Bloomberg report, the cancellation came from Singapore.

"Singapore and Hong Kong have been in close consultations on the Singapore-Hong Kong Air Travel Bubble (ATB). We have not fixed a date to announce the resumption of the bubble, but will do so once we are ready, hopefully very soon," said a Singapore Ministry of Transport spokesperson.

Already, a cancellation seemed imminent when SIA announced last week on 15 April that both Singapore's national carrier and Scoot would stop carrying transit passengers on the outbound Singapore-Hong Kong route "until further notice". SIA's move came into effect on 17 April, while Scoot's will start from 30 April.

The Hong Kong-Singapore ATB first came into discussions last year, for official lift off on 22 November, but has been plagued with numerous road blocks in rising Covid cases.

Singapore, with its general success in low community Covid cases and managing the reopening of business events, remains a top travel bubble partner candidate for Australia, which has launched a quarantine-free bubble to New Zealand.

Australia's deputy prime minister and minister for transport, Michael McCormack, told local network Sky News this week that Singapore was top of the list for a potential next bubble.

"There's clearly a lot of countries in the region, particularly the Asia-Pacific region, that have high control over Covid. Not to the extent of Australia and New Zealand, but they give us opportunities, markets like Singapore, markets like Japan, markets like Taiwan," added Qantas chief executive, Alan Joyce in a BBC report.

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