News Travel Bubbles

Singapore – Hong Kong Travel Bubble confirmed from 26 May

Finally: The long-awaited Singapore - Hong Kong Air Travel Bubble will take flight on 26th May, with vaccination only a requirement for Hong Kong residents.

Finally, after a six-month postponement, quarantine-free, all-purpose travel between Singapore and Hong Kong is back on the cards, with the respective governments announcing the arrangement is now set to get up and running one month from now, on 26th May 2021.

The arrangement, which is the first of its kind in Asia, was abruptly postponed in November 2020, just hours before the first flights were set to take off, as Hong Kong began to record increasing COVID-19 case numbers.

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A two-week postponement was initially made to the start date, however the situation then developed into a prolonged ‘fourth wave’ of infections in the city, putting the ATB with Singapore firmly on ice for several months.

Singapore – Hong Kong ATB


26 May Launch

The ATB will launch on 26th May 2021, over 6 months after it was first proposed


Vaccination Required for HK Residents

Hong Kong residents travelling on the ATB will need to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, but not Singapore residents


Cathay Pacific & Singapore Airlines

Hong Kong and Singapore’s primary full-service carriers will operate up to two ‘bubble flights’ per day, each capped at 200 passengers


The Singapore – Hong Kong ATB will join Asia-Pacific’s only other all-purpose travel bubble including leisure travellers, currently operating between Australia and New Zealand.

Eligible travellers will not need to quarantine in either city, instead completing a COVID-19 testing regime both prior to and after travel in each direction.


Singapore residents will not need to be vaccinated

Although the Hong Kong government is imposing full vaccination as a requirement for its own residents using the ATB, with a few exceptions, Singapore does not require it as part of the arrangement and is not adding the condition for its own residents using the travel bubble.

That’s good news for those of us in Singapore who haven’t had the opportunity to be vaccinated yet, since fully vaccinated status only kicks in two weeks after the second vaccine dose, meaning it takes five to six weeks from the first dose to develop full immunity, at least as far as travelling is concerned.

That would have left many Singapore residents unable to use the ATB until later in the year, had the requirement been reciprocally applied.

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Realistically the ATB will be open to only around 500,000 Hong Kong residents by 26th May 2021, given current vaccination rates shown below as of yesterday, however children and some other groups will also be able to use it.

The vaccination requirement is not applicable to the following Hong Kong residents:

  • Aged below 16
  • Not suitable for COVID- 19 vaccination due to medical grounds
  • With less than 90 days’ stay in Hong Kong before departure
  • Using non-Hong Kong travel documents for departure

Crucially – non-Hong Kong passport holders, including for example Singapore citizens resident in Hong Kong, can sidestep the requirement to be fully vaccinated.

Hong Kong citizens normally living in Singapore can also avoid it, by staying in Hong Kong for less than 90 days each time they visit on the ATB.


Inaugural flights

Both airlines will launch their inaugural travel bubble services on the morning of 26th May 2021.

Singapore Airlines will operate flight SQ882 from Singapore to Hong Kong, while Cathay Pacific will operate flight CX759 from Hong Kong to Singapore.

Singapore    Hong Kong

SQ882
A350-900
26 May 2021
SIN
08:40
HKG
12:40

Hong Kong    Singapore

CX759
A350-900
26 May 2021
HKG
09:10
SIN
13:05

These flights will return to their respective home airports as non-ATB services, so there is just a single flight in each direction on launch day, with no opportunity to take an afternoon timing.

Both airlines will use three-class Airbus A350s initially, though Singapore Airlines will upgauge its flights to Boeing 777-300ERs including a First Class cabin from 2nd June 2021.


Full schedule

As with the previous model of the ATB when it was first proposed, Cathay Pacific and Singapore Airlines will operate on alternate days for the first two weeks of the bubble arrangement, then each carrier steps up to daily service from 10th June 2021.

Here’s how it looks including the inaugural flights on 26th May listed above.

Singapore    Hong Kong

  Dates
SQ882
A350-900
  • May: 26, 28, 30, 31
SIN
08:40
HKG
12:40
SQ882
777-300ER
  • Jun: 2, 4, 7, 9
    Then daily from 10 Jun
SIN
08:40
HKG
12:40
CX734
A350-900
  • May: 27, 29
  • Jun: 1, 3, 5, 6, 8
    Then daily from 10 Jun
SIN
14:45
HKG
19:00

Hong Kong    Singapore

  Dates
SQ883
A350-900
  • May: 28, 30, 31
HKG
14:25
SIN
18:20
SQ883
777-300ER
  • Jun: 2, 4, 7, 9
    Then daily from 10 Jun
HKG
14:25
SIN
18:20
CX759
A350-900
  • May: 26, 27, 29
  • Jun: 1, 3, 5, 6, 8
    Then daily from 10 Jun
HKG
09:10
SIN
13:05

Note that flights between Singapore and Hong Kong not listed above, including those operated by Scoot, are non-ATB services for the time being, with passengers completing a quarantine period at the end of their journey.

If you are already booked on a non-ATB flight with Singapore Airlines between Singapore and Hong Kong, you can transfer to an ATB flight if you meet the ATB requirements. Those with existing bookings will be notified if their flight has been designated as an ATB flight.

Both Singapore Airlines and Cathay Pacific are showing the above listed flights as ATB designated services until 30th September 2021 at this stage.


First Class is available from 2 June

Good news for those of you missing SIA’s most exclusive cabin, the single-row four-seat section on the airline’s Boeing 777-300ER aircraft will be available in both directions on designated ATB flights from 2nd June 2021.