2021-06-13| Asia-PacificCOVID-19

Singapore and Australia’s Prime Ministers Discuss Initiation of Air Travel Bubble

by Tyler Chen
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(Photo/ Ministry of Communications and Information, Singapore)

Prime ministers of Singapore and Australia met on June 10th to discuss the possibility of initiating an air travel bubble (ATB) between the two countries. Singapore students in Australia would be the first to benefit from the ATB, and they expect it to be a pilot test for the policy.


What is an Air Travel Bubble?

You can see ATB as a two-way quarantine-free travel pass exclusively between countries with great track records in preventing COVID-19. But there are still conditions to be met to travel freely.

Currently, Singapore has no ATB with any countries, but previously it had one with Hong Kong. The first ATB flight was expected to take off on May 26th, but the plan was suspended due to the sudden rise of COVID-19 cases in Singapore. To resume the plan, on June 11th, Singapore’s Ministry of Transport announced that they would review the agreement in early July.

“The discussion is continuing, but I think it will require some time, especially until we are able to raise our vaccination rate. Then, this will give us greater confidence and greater flexibility in implementing air travel bubbles.” Singapore’s Trade and Industry Minister Gan Kim Yong said.

In addition, South Korea is also in talks with Singapore and Taiwan to start ATBs with fully vaccinated people in July.


Singapore’s Status on Air Travel Pass

Besides ATB, Singapore also has Air Travel Pass (ATP) with several countries. ATP is like a one-way air travel bubble, meaning that it only allows short-term visitors from the listed countries to travel to Singapore under conditions.

Currently, Singapore has given ATP to 4 countries, namely Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Mainland China, and New Zealand. Meanwhile, the ATPs to Taiwan, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Guangdong province in China, and Victoria State in Australia are suspended for the time being.

Related Article: BioNTech to Build Headquarters in Singapore, Intends to Produce Million COVID Shots for Southeast Asia


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