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Revealed: Singapore – Hong Kong ‘Air Travel Bubble’ flight schedule

The Singapore - Hong Kong Air Travel Bubble will launch on 22nd November.

Here's a list of all the designated flights you can book between the two cities, including for leisure trips.

Earlier this month the governments of Hong Kong SAR and Singapore announced the region’s first leisure ‘travel bubble’ since border closures due to COVID-19, with quarantine-free trips between the two cities for any purpose set to be approved in late 2020.

Those travelling between the two cities will have to be negative for COVID-19, with a mutually recognised PCR test conducted pre-departure. Unlike the reciprocal ‘green lane’ or ‘fast lane’ arrangements already in place between Singapore and other countries, trips on the Air Travel Bubble (ATB) can be for any purpose, including leisure, and a controlled itinerary is not necessary.

Travellers will be able to fly between Singapore and Hong Kong without quarantine from 22nd November. (Photo: Shutterstock)

Yesterday we summarised what we knew so far about the arrangements, but now we now have some additional details of the process involved, but crucially the all-important flight schedule for those making quarantine-free trips to and from Hong Kong under this new arrangement.

  Air Travel Bubble (ATB) flights

The following services have been confirmed as designated ATB flights for those travelling between Singapore and Hong Kong, effective from 22nd November 2020 to 31st December 2020.

The inaugural flight will by SQ890 from Singapore to Hong Kong on Sunday 22nd November 2020, with the first Hong Kong – Singapore ATB flight departing the following day on Monday 23rd November 2020 as SQ891.

Cathay Pacific services on the ATB from Hong Kong to Singapore will also commence on Sunday 22nd November 2020, with the carrier operating its first Singapore – Hong Kong travel bubble flights from Tuesday 24th November 2020.

(Image: Cathay Pacific)

Initially one flight per day in each direction will be operated, increasing to two flights per day from 7th December 2020.

You can book a return flight with the same airline in both directions (e.g. Singapore Airlines both ways) or you can mix between carriers in each direction (e.g. Cathay Pacific to Hong Kong then SIA back to Singapore).

Provided both flights you are booked on are designated ATB flights, you will be able to follow the ‘travel bubble’ procedures and avoid any quarantine period at either end of your journey.

Singapore    Hong Kong

22nd November 2020 – 23rd November 2020
(inaugural services)

  Days
M T W T F S S
SQ890
A359
 
SIN
10:00
HKG
14:00
SQ890
A359
           
SIN
08:00
HKG
11:45

24th November 2020 – 4th December 2020

  Days
M T W T F S S
SQ890
A359
     
SIN
07:35
HKG
11:20
CX734
A359
       
SIN
15:00
HKG
19:00

7th – 31st December 2020

  Days
M T W T F S S
SQ890
A359
SIN
07:35
HKG
11:20
CX734
A359
SIN
15:00
HKG
19:00

1st – 31st January 2021

  Days
M T W T F S S
SQ860
A359
SIN
08:25
HKG
12:25

Hong Kong    Singapore

22nd November 2020 – 23rd November 2020
(inaugural services)

  Days
M T W T F S S
CX759
A359
 
HKG
09:10
SIN
13:00
SQ891
A359
           
HKG
12:55
SIN
16:55

24th November 2020 – 4th December 2020

  Days
M T W T F S S
CX759
A359
       
HKG
09:10
SIN
13:00
SQ891
A359
     
HKG
12:30
SIN
16:30

7th – 31st December 2020

  Days
M T W T F S S
CX759
A359
HKG
09:10
SIN
13:00
SQ891
A359
HKG
12:30
SIN
16:30

1st – 31st January 2021

  Days
M T W T F S S
SQ860
A359
HKG
14:10
SIN
18:10

Note that Cathay Pacific has yet to confirm its ATB flights beyond 31st December 2020.

Cathay Pacific is operating the 3-class Airbus A350-900 on Hong Kong services, while Singapore Airlines is deploying its 3-class Airbus A350 long-haul aircraft according to the airline’s press release and Facebook update, though flights remain loaded as Boeing 787-10s in the schedule at this stage.

That makes Cathay Pacific the only airline currently offering a Premium Economy option on the route, even though the cabin exists on the aircraft SIA will be deploying.

Cathay Pacific will offer Premium Economy on its Singapore – Hong Kong flights. (Photo: Airbus)

Cathay Pacific ATB flights have a special ‘Travel Bubble’ indicator when you book.

Important! Singapore – Hong Kong flights not listed above, including SIA’s SQ872/871 and Scoot’s TR980/981 flights are not ATB-designated services and continue to serve transit passengers and those previously eligible to fly, who will complete a quarantine period at their destination.

If you are booked on one of the Singapore Airlines ATB flights but do not meet the requirements of the programme, you will have the option to be reaccommodated on Scoot services. In this case you must meet the entry requirements of either Singapore or Hong Kong, depending on your direction of travel, and will have to serve a quarantine / Stay Home Notice period.

Special in-flight menu

As part of the marketing for these new ATB flights, Singapore Airlines and Cathay Pacific will work together to provide a special in-flight menu featuring popular local dishes from both cities.

Passengers may look forward to local fare from Hong Kong such as a selection of Dim Sum, Soya Sauce Chicken Noodle, and Lotus Leaf Rice with Chicken, while popular Singapore dishes include Carrot Cake and Nasi Lemak.

Singapore Airlines
Nasi Lemak on Singapore Airlines. (Photo: Singapore Airlines)

Flight prices

With awards looking an unlikely prospect during the initial stages of the ATB, here’s how current cash fares look on the route between now and the end of December, based on a round-trip SIN-HKG-SIN booking, at the time of writing.

  Economy Premium Business

SIA
S$572 –
S$697
n/a S$2,019 –
S$3,944
CX S$487 –
S$682
S$787 –
S$1,282
S$1,399 –
S$2,312

Some big jumps from what we reported only yesterday, with Cathay Pacific remaining cheaper on most days, especially in Business Class.

Once Singapore Airlines updates the operating aircraft in its schedules to reflect the 3-class Airbus A350, we expect Premium Economy fares to become available, and will update the table accordingly.

Cathay Pacific is using its long-haul Business Class on the Singapore – Hong Kong route. (Photo: Cathay Pacific)

Award rates

As we mentioned yesterday, there are almost no award seats on offer during the first two months of the ATB, with the exception of some Cathay Pacific Economy Class seats available at ‘Standard’ (rather than more expensive ‘Choice’ or ‘Tailored’) levels through Asia Miles.

For now, the travel bubble flights run officially until 31st December 2020, however the arrangement will hopefully be extended and from January 2021 onwards, you may wish to lock in some available redemptions at the following rates.

Singapore Airlines

Class / Route
Economy SIN > HKG 15,000
(+S$41.50)
HKG > SIN 15,000
(+S$45.70)*
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is SQ-A380-PY-v2-Small-Singapore-Airlines.jpgPremium Economy SIN > HKG 24,500
(+S$41.50)
HKG > SIN 24,500
(+S$45.70)*
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 2013-J-Overview-Small-James-Park-Associates.jpgBusiness SIN > HKG 30,500
(+S$41.50)
HKG > SIN 30,500
(+S$58.00)*

* Taxes from Hong Kong are charged in HKD and will fluctuate slightly due to exchange rates. Business Class taxes from HKG are slightly higher than Economy due to the increased Hong Kong Airport Construction Fee charged when flying in premium cabins.

Cathay Pacific

Class / Route
Economy SIN > HKG 10,000
(+S$41.50)
11,000
(+S$41.50)
HKG > SIN 10,000
(+S$45.70)*
11,000
(+S$45.70)*
Premium Economy SIN > HKG 18,000
(+S$41.50)
16,500
(+S$41.50)
HKG > SIN 18,000
(+S$45.70)*
16,500
(+S$45.70)*
Business SIN > HKG 25,000
(+S$41.50)
22,000
(+S$41.50)
HKG > SIN 25,000
(+S$58.00)*
22,000
(+S$58.00)*

* Taxes from Hong Kong are charged in HKD and will fluctuate slightly due to exchange rates. Business Class taxes from HKG are slightly higher than Economy due to the increased Hong Kong Airport Construction Fee when flying in premium cabins.

Passenger cap

Each designated flight on the ATB is limited to 200 passengers, around two-thirds of usual capacity for the aircraft being used.

Travel eligibility

To be eligible to travel on the ATB, you must fulfil the following criteria:

  • Any person currently in Hong Kong and Singapore, irrespective of his/her nationality*
  • Any person with no travel history to any place other than Singapore or Hong Kong in the last 14 days prior to departure
  • Negative result of COVID-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) nucleic acid test by recognised testing institutions with specimen collected within 72 hours prior to departure
  • Travelling on designated flights as listed above

* Exception: Holders of Work Permits or S Passes issued by the Singapore Ministry of Manpower working in the construction, marine shipyard, or process sectors are not eligible to travel to Hong Kong under the Air Travel Bubble arrangement.

Testing and costs

For Singapore residents, three COVID-19 PCR tests will be required, one prior to departure, one on arrival and a third before leaving Hong Kong. The approximate costs are:

  • Singapore pre-departure: ~S$200
  • Hong Kong arrival: S$87
  • Hong Kong pre-departure: S$122-325 (depending on clinic)

That’s a minimum of S$409 in testing costs per person, less than some had feared but still a significant outlay especially for a family.

Who needs to be tested?

All travellers entering Hong Kong, including children, are required to take both the pre-departure COVID-19 PCR test in Singapore, as well as the post-arrival COVID-19 PCR test at Hong Kong International Airport. Children aged 12 and below are not required to take the pre-departure COVID-19 PCR test in Hong Kong prior to returning to Singapore.

Children aged 12 years or younger departing Hong Kong and entering Singapore, will not required to take a pre-departure COVID-19 PCR test, however all travellers including infants and children will be required to take the post-arrival COVID-19 PCR test before clearing immigration at Hong Kong International Airport upon their return.

The process (Singapore to Hong Kong)

Travellers wishing to use the ATB to visit Hong Kong will need to take a PCR test within 72 hours before their flight departure time. They must apply for approval to take this test at least seven days before departure, and will need a confirmed flight ticket to Hong Kong. Cost: ~S$200.

For pre-departure testing providers in Singapore, please refer here.

From 1st December 2020, travellers do not need to apply for approval to take the test.

This is the full process:

  1. Apply for Visa (if needed)
  2. Purchase ticket for a designated flight (see above)
  3. Take a pre-departure COVID-19 test (see above)
  4. Submit your Health Declaration
  5. Book your post-arrival COVID-19 test via this website

On arrival in Hong Kong, visitors will have to undergo temperature screening and present a QR code of their Health Declaration.

A post-arrival COVID-19 test (PCR nucleic acid test) is then administered, following which immigration clearance and baggage collection is completed as normal. Cost: HKD499 (S$87).

A COVID-19 PCR test will be conducted for Singapore residents travelling on the ATB when they arrive in Hong Kong. (Photo: HKIA)

You will then have to wait for your PCR test result, which you’ll receive by SMS and email, and present the negative result to complete the customs process and enter Hong Kong for your quarantine-free stay.

The entire process may take four hours, so if you arrive on the Cathay Pacific flight at 7pm, don’t bank on reaching your hotel before midnight!

Your stay in Hong Kong can be for any duration, in accordance with your Visa.

The process (returning to Singapore)

If you wish to be exempted from the Stay Home Notice upon return to Singapore, for Singapore Citizens, Permanent Residents, or Long-Term Pass Holders, you must fulfil the following:

Medical treatment

If travellers who are non-Hong Kong residents become COVID-19 positive during their stay in Hong Kong, they will be accorded the necessary medical treatment by the Hong Kong Government.

Such travellers will need to bear the full cost of any medical treatment provided to them.

Hong Kong residents

Residents of Hong Kong wishing to travel to Singapore on the ATB must apply for an Air Travel Pass after booking their flights.

The full procedure for these travellers is outlined here.

One important difference is that Hong Kong residents do not need to take a pre-departure test in Singapore before returning home if it has been less than 72 hours since their previous test, so it’s possible for them to take shorter trips with only two tests instead of three.

Singapore residents must arrange a pre-departure test in Hong Kong regardless of their length of stay.

Suspension of the ATB

We knew when the ATB was first announced that it could be adjusted or suspended in the event of a spike in the number of COVID-19 cases in either country.

This has now been quantified, with confirmation that the ATB 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 Singapore or Hong Kong.

The arrangement will then resume if the seven-day moving average on the last day of the suspension period is five or fewer.

Lounges

For those flying in Business Class or holding sufficient frequent flyer status with Singapore Airlines or Cathay Pacific, an important consideration will be pre-flight lounge access when flying to or from Hong Kong.

Cathay Pacific confirmed to Mainly Miles is currently has no lounge arrangement for its Business Class passengers or eligible status holders at Singapore Changi Airport.

Singapore Airlines on the other hand, while not currently operating its own SilverKris lounge in Hong Kong, told Mainly Miles it is inviting its Business Class passengers to use the Plaza Premium Lounge near Gate 1.

Singapore Airlines is using the Plaza Premium Lounge in Hong Kong, however Cathay Pacific passengers don’t currently get any lounge benefit at Changi. (Photo: Plaza Premium)
  Singapore Hong Kong
SKL Business Plaza Premium
(near Gate 1)
None The Wing First

That means you’ll get to use the SilverKris Business Class lounge at Terminal 3 when flying on Singapore Airlines from Changi, but no lounge at all flying Cathay Pacific. In the other direction you’ll get access to The Wing First Class lounge in Hong Kong flying Cathay Pacific, and the Plaza Premium Lounge flying Singapore Airlines.

Currently The Wing First Class is the only Cathay Pacific lounge open in Hong Kong. It is available to those who would normally have lounge access when flying with Cathay Pacific or oneworld carriers.

Mainly Miles confirmed with Cathay Pacific that no voucher alternative is currently provided to Business Class passengers departing Changi, even though a lounge option is not available.

The optimal booking on this city pair for those prioritising the best lounge access as part of their experience may therefore be to fly Singapore Airlines to Hong Kong and Cathay Pacific back to Singapore, given that the SKL in Singapore and The Wing in Hong Kong can probably be regarded as the ‘best pair’.

Logically if the ATB is successful and passenger volumes are sufficient, SIA’s SilverKris Lounge in Hong Kong might be reopened. We’ll be sure to update you if that happens, since it could then make Singapore Airlines the most logical carrier to choose for return routings when flying Business Class on the ATB.

SilverKris lounge in Hong Kong. (Photo: Singapore Airlines)

If you’re a Priority Pass holder, a member of a similar lounge access programme, or are willing to pay for lounge access when flying on the ATB regardless of your travel class, here’s a summary of what’s currently available at either end of the journey.


In Singapore the Plaza Premium Lounge in T1 (read our review) is operating between 12pm and 6am daily, making it an ideal Priority Pass or paid access option for those flying on Cathay Pacific.

The SATS Premier Lounge in T1 is currently closed, while the DNATA lounge is only opening for its partner airline departure bank between 4pm and 11pm each day, making it unsuitable for those flying Cathay Pacific.

For those flying with Singapore Airlines who don’t have SilverKris lounge access, the SATS Premier Lounge in T3 is operating 24 hours per day.


In Hong Kong the Plaza Premium lounge near Gate 1 is currently open from 8am to 00.30am, and is currently being used as SIA’s third-party lounge with complimentary access for KrisFlyer Gold / PPS Club and Star Alliance Gold travellers alongside Business Class passengers.

An additional Plaza Premium lounge near gate 35 is open in the mornings from midnight to 10am, which may suit those on Cathay Pacific’s morning departure who don’t qualify for access to ‘The Wing’.

The Plaza Premium lounge near Gate 60 and the Plaza Premium First Class lounge near Gate 1 remain closed, as does the Amex Centurion lounge.

Summary

While it starts small with only one daily flight in each direction, capped at 200 passengers, by early December the new Singapore – Hong Kong ATB soon doubles to two flights.

Both full service carriers on the route will be offering flights, with morning and afternoon departure timings available once twice daily operation kicks in.

Singapore Airlines will deploy its 3-class Airbus A350s on the Hong Kong ATB flights, featuring the airline’s popular 2013 Business Class seats. (Image: James Park Associates)

Fares are starting to increase already even compared to those we reported yesterday, and with award space unlikely to materialise given the limited capacity and strong demand for overseas travel, it’s time to lock in your plans by booking a cash ticket in our opinion.

Finally, if the ATB is successful, Singapore’s Minister for Transport Ong Ye Kung hopes to “trilateralise” and “quadlateralise” the arrangement to include other countries in due course.

For further information, see the dedicated Air Travel Bubble website:

  Singapore – Hong Kong ATB

(Cover Photo: MainlyMiles)

16 comments

  1. If I fly on a Friday to Hong Kong and take a post arrival test at HKIA, then leave on Monday, do u think I need to take a pre departure test again?

  2. Hi Andrew – similar to Han above, I am looking at travelling to HKG on a Wednesday and returning two days later on a Friday. Do you think that the arrival test in HKG will also satisfy the pre-departure test back to SIN?

    1. Cathay Pacific says you can only do this in Singapore if you’re travelling on the ATB from Hong Kong.
      Singapore Airlines says you can only do this in Hong Kong if you’re travelling on the ATB from Singapore.

      I’m confused!

      1. “As a safety precaution, it is mandatory for all Air Travel Pass holders arriving in Singapore to undergo a Covid-19 PCR test upon arrival. With this, you need not serve the mandatory 14-day Stay-Home Notice (SHN) upon entry into Singapore. If your Covid-19 test result is negative, you may go about with your activities in Singapore. However, if you are tested positive, you will be sent to a medical facility for treatment and monitoring, at your own expense.”

      2. Singapore residents on the ATB are not travelling on an Air Travel Pass (ATP), however.

        Even HK residents, who apply via the ATP system to visit Singapore, are exempt from arrival testing when travelling on the ATB.

      3. Agree with you… but as we have to ask for approval (https://form.gov.sg/#!/5fa3ba7f7831070011058105) it says:
        If this request is approved, your company is REQUIRED to make the payment as charged, even if the pass holder does not enter Singapore as planned. No refunds will be given as we would have booked and paid for the facilities required for the pass holder’s entry based on this request. The charges are as follows:
        – Pass holder’s COVID-19 test (up to $200 including GST). Pass holders who are 12 years old and below are not required to take the COVID-19 test.
        – Stay at the dedicated SHN facility ($2,000 including GST), if applicable.

        So it is totally confusing…

  3. Thanks for the very comprehensive article, really helpful. I have booked!!! Now I need to get through the red tape. Or red tests 🙂

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