Cathay Pacific News Singapore Airlines Travel Bubbles

The bubble bursts: Singapore – Hong Kong ATB postponed

The inevitable has happened, with sources confirming that the Air Travel Bubble between Singapore and Hong Kong will be postponed by at least two weeks due to the start of a 'fourth wave' of infections in the city.

With Hong Kong almost inevitably entering a ‘fourth wave’ of COVID-19 infections, seeing rising case numbers day by day, the inevitable has happened. It has now been confirmed that the Singapore – Hong Kong Air Travel Bubble will be postponed for at least two weeks, the day before it was due to begin.

A ‘circuit-breaker’ was designed when the ATB was agreed, such that if the seven-day average of unlinked COVID-19 cases in either city exceeded 5, a fixed two-week stop was placed on the agreement.

Though that threshold hasn’t been breached, with a reported 13 unlinked cases today bringing the seven-day average only to 3.86, the authorities in Hong Kong have clearly decided the situation is only heading in one direction and that launching the bubble tomorrow is unwise.

“The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) announced today (November 21) that in view of the recent epidemic situation in Hong Kong, the Governments of HKSAR and Singapore have decided to defer the inaugural flights under the Hong Kong-Singapore Air Travel Bubble (ATB) for two weeks.”

Government of Hong Kong SAR
The Air Travel Bubble between Singapore and Hong Kong will not go ahead as planned on 22nd November

Flights on the ATB were due to commence at 09:10 tomorrow, with a Cathay Pacific departure from Hong Kong to Singapore, followed 50 minutes later with Singapore Airlines in the opposite direction.

We were flying Business Class to Hong Kong tomorrow on SQ890 and were still intending to travel despite the increasingly uncertain outlook for the ATB, so this is certainly disappointing news, though it does now seem a sensible step.


For now, those with a booking on Singapore Airlines are already permitted to refund or change their booking on an ATB flight with no penalties, regardless of fare type booked, following additional testing measures announced earlier today.

The new measure meant those arriving at Changi, either after their ATB trip or on a visit from Hong Kong, would be subjected to an additional S$196 COVID-19 PCR test, followed by a six to eight hour wait self-isolating at home or in a hotel for the result.

This pushed the cost of testing alone for those using the ATB to around S$600+ per person making a round-trip.