UPDATE, December 1: In a statement on Tuesday (December 1), The Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) said that both cities have decided to defer the start of the air travel bubble (ATB) beyond this month. This means that any possibility of travel to Hong Kong would probably have to be delayed to next year.
"Given that local unlinked cases [in Hong Kong] are still high, both parties have decided to defer the commencement of the Singapore – Hong Kong Air Travel Bubble (ATB) to beyond December 2020," CAAS said in a press statement. The exact start date of the arrangement will be reviewed in late December – which means that we don't foresee us travelling out to Hong Kong until next year. In the meantime, those who have booked their tickets are advised to contact their airlines regarding their travel plans.
November 21: It seems like we'll have to stay put in Singapore for a little longer. The launch of the Singapore-Hong Kong air travel bubble has been postponed, Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung announced on Saturday (November 21). The new launch date will be announced later, but the authorities will review the situation within the next two weeks.
In a Facebook post at 5pm on Saturday (November 21), Mr Ong said that he and Hong Kong Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Edward Yau agreed that it would be better to postpone the launch given the rise in Hong Kong's Covid-19 cases. The decision came just hours after both cities agreed to proceed with the travel arrangement despite a spike in the number of infections in Hong Kong on Saturday morning.
The air travel bubble – one of the first in the world – was originally slated to launch on Sunday (November 22) with one flight into each city and each flight with a maximum capacity of 200 passengers. However, there are agreement terms: travel will 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 either of the cities. Hong Kong health authorities reported 43 Covid-19 cases on Saturday, 13 of which were unlinked.
"This is a sober reminder that the Covid-19 virus is still with us, and even as we fight to regain our normal lives, the journey will be full of ups and downs. But we will press on and look forward to when we can safely launch the ATB," says Mr Ong.
It's a bummer for sure, especially for those who were looking forward to finally be able to travel or reunite with loved ones in Hong Kong. But hey, there are plenty of things to do in Singapore this December – especially with the $100 SingapoRediscovers Vouchers that we'll be getting come December 1. Maybe this will give us more time to fully appreciate the Lion City, eccentricities and all.