facebookUltimate Guide to the Singapore-Hong Kong Air Travel Bubble Re-Launch (May 2021)
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Ultimate Guide to the Singapore-Hong Kong Air Travel Bubble Re-Launch (May 2021)

profileKenneth Fong
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Badly in need of a holiday?

Good news!

Just today (26 April 2021), the Governments of Singapore and Hong Kong have officially announced the re-launch of the previously postponed bilateral Air Travel Bubble (ATB) arrangement between both countries.

Singapore and Hong Kong have both agreed that the launch date of the Singapore-Hong Kong ATB will be on 26 May 2021.

If everything goes well, we might soon see quarantine free travel between the two countries soon.

Source: SpongeBob SquarePants | Giphy

Ready to head to Hong Kong for a holiday?

Here’s all we know so far.

As the story is still developing, we will update the article with more details about the Singapore-Hong Kong ATB once more information is released.

So do save this article if you want to receive timely updates about the ATB!

 


TL;DR: Singapore-Hong Kong Travel Bubble Complete Guide

If you’re thinking of travelling to Hong Kong, then this step-by-step guide will give you an overview of what the process might be like:

But on top of the air tickets and accommodation, you’ll also have to pay for various COVID-19 Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) tests.

Singapore to Hong Kong

Pre-Departure COVID-19 PCR Test in Singapore: Up to S$200

On-Arrival COVID-19 PCR Test in Hong Kong International Airport: ~S$85 (HKD$499)

Hong Kong Back to Singapore

Pre-Departure COVID-19 PCR Test in Hong Kong: ~S$85 (HKD$499)

On-Arrival COVID-19 PCR Test in Singapore Changi Airport: S$160

.

.

.

So what’s the total cost to travel to Hong Kong and back (flight tickets and accommodation not inclusive)?

About S$530 in COVID-19 PCR tests alone.

Is it worth it?

Eh… I’ll let you decide lah, ah.

FYI: if you’re thinking of booking a flight to Hong Kong, airfares jumped 40 per cent back in October last year after the announcement of the air travel bubble.


What Is the Singapore-Hong Kong Bilateral Air Travel Bubble?

Source: Government of HK SAR

The Singapore-Hong Kong Air Travel Bubble (ATB) is a bilateral arrangement that allows people to travel between the two countries without being subjected to quarantine or stay-home notice requirements.

Yep.

That means you won’t have to serve a quarantine period (read: waste time).

Or have to pay for a stay in a quarantine facility (read: waste money) upon entering either country.

More importantly, this is not like a Reciprocal Green Lane or Fast Lane which is only for essential business and official travel.

We’re talking about NO restrictions on travel purpose, NO need for pre-approvals by either government and NO need for a controlled itinerary.

Which is great news for tourists!

When Will the Singapore-Hong Kong Air Travel Bubble Start?

According to the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS), the Singapore-Hong Kong ATB is set to launch on 26 May 2021 (Wednesday) which also happens to be a public holiday (Vesak Day).

From 26 May – 9 June 2021, there will be one flight a day into each city, with a quota of 200 travellers for each flight. Also, the number of flights will be allocated equally between Singapore-based and Hong Kong-based airlines.

If all goes well within the first two weeks, the number of daily flights will increase to two per day from 10 June 2021.

This means that during this time, a total of 400 travellers can travel between Hong Kong and Singapore daily.

Do note that the travellers from both cities will have to travel on the designated flights serving only ATB travellers. This means that Transit and non-ATB travellers are not allowed on the designated ATB flights.

What Happens To the Air Travel Bubble if There Is a Spike in COVID-19 Cases?

The Singapore-Hong Kong air travel bubble 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 suspension will take effect after two days (including the day on which the criteria was met) for a two-week period.

The air travel bubble will ONLY resume on the next day when the following two criteria have been fulfilled:

(i) The seven-day moving average of the daily number of unlinked local COVID-19 cases in Hong Kong and Singapore does not exceed five on the last day of the 14-day suspension period or any subsequent day.

(ii) And, after criteria (i) is met, subsequently there need to be three consecutive days where the daily number of unlinked local COVID-19 cases does not exceed three in Hong Kong and Singapore,
and the seven-day moving average of the daily number of unlinked local COVID-19 cases on the last day of the three consecutive days does not exceed five in both places.

What Will Happen if the Air Travel Bubble is Suspended?

If the Air Travel Bubble is suspended, Singapore Airlines has stated that that:

If flights are cancelled or reverted to a non-Air Travel Bubble flight, all affected customers will be eligible for a refund of their tickets. This includes a waiver of cancellation fees. A refund will be accorded to the passengers’ original form of payment for unutilised portion(s) of their tickets (including non-refundable tickets). Also normal quarantine procedures would apply.

Cathay Pacific has stated that they will:

Ensure everyone mid-trip gets home by re-assigning them onto normal, non-Air Travel Bubble flights. Please note that normal quarantine procedures would apply. Also they will refund or change travel dates without charge for anyone due to travel during the suspension period.’

Who Is Eligible for the Singapore-Hong Kong Air Travel Bubble?

Can’t wait to get out of Singapore and visit Hong Kong or vice versa?

Here are the eligibility criteria:

Departing From Singapore

  • Any person, irrespective of his/her nationality/citizenship, who has remained in Singapore and/or Hong Kong in the last 14 consecutive days prior to departure is eligible to travel.
  • This 14-day period excludes any compulsory quarantine or Stay-Home Notice (SHN) period arising from their last return to Singapore or Hong Kong from overseas.

[IMPORTANT!] The Singapore-Hong Kong ATB arrangement is open to any person regardless of nationality EXCEPT for Work Permit or S Pass holders in the following sectors:

  • Construction
  • Marine shipyard
  • Process

Departing From Hong Kong (Additional Criteria)

If you are travelling from Hong Kong to Singapore, do note that Hong Kong requires its residents to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 (i.e. receive two doses of the vaccine) before they can get on an ATB flight.

However, the following Hong Kong residents are exempted from the above requirement:

  • Those aged below 16.
  • Those who are not suitable for COVID-19 vaccination due to medical grounds.
  • Those who stayed in Hong Kong for less than 90 days before departure.
  • Those who are using non-Hong Kong travel documents for departure.

But on the flip side, travellers departing from Singapore to Hong Kong on ATB flights do not need to be vaccinated.

What Is The Process From Before Departing Singapore to My Arrival in Hong Kong?

Step 1: Purchase a ticket for an ATB designated flight

For now, you can choose from flights from Singapore Airlines (SIA) or Cathay Pacific.

SIA Singapore-Hong Kong ATB Flights

Here is the designated SIA ATB flight schedule from 26 May – 7 June 2021:

RouteDatesDeparture Time | Arrival TimeFlight Number
May
Singapore to Hong Kong26, 38, 30, 31 May 20218.40am | 12.40pmSQ 882
(Airbus A350-900)
Hong Kong to Singapore28, 30, 31 May 20212.25pm | 6.20pmSQ 883
(Airbus A350-900)
June
Singapore to Hong Kong2, 4, 7 June 20218.40am | 12.40pmSQ882
(Boeing 777-300ER)
Hong Kong to Singapore2.25pm | 6.20pmSQ883
(Boeing 777-300ER)

From 9 June 2021, SIA will start to operate daily flights:

RouteFlight FrequencyDeparture Time | Arrival TimeFlight Number & Aircraft
Singapore to Hong KongDaily8.40am | 12.40pmSQ 882
(Boeing 777-ER)
Hong Kong to Singapore2.25pm | 6.20pmSQ 883
(Boeing 777-ER)

Source: Singapore Airlines

*All flight timings are denoted in local time.

Cathay Pacific Singapore-Hong Kong ATB Flights

Here is the designated Cathay Pacific ATB flight schedule from 26 May – 7 June 2021:

RouteDatesDeparture Time | Arrival TimeFlight Number
May
Singapore to Hong Kong27, 29 May 20212.45pm | 7.00pmCX734
Hong Kong to Singapore9.10am | 1.05pmCX759
June
Singapore to Hong Kong1, 3, 5, 6 , 8 June 20212.45pm | 7.00pmCX734
Hong Kong to Singapore9.10am | 1.05pmCX759

*All flight timings are denoted in local time.

From 10 June 2021, Cathay Pacific will operate daily return flights to Singapore.

Initially, there will be a flight once every few days into each city, with a quota of 200 travellers for each flight.

If things go well we will see two daily ATB flights with the same traveller quota per flight from 9 June 2021.

Step 2: Take a Pre-Departure COVID-19 PCR Test

Once you have a valid passport and a confirmed flight ticket to Hong Kong.

You will have to take a pre-departure PCR test within 72 hours before the scheduled departure time of the designated ATB flight and obtain a negative test result.

This means that you will have to get tested and obtain a negative test result within this time frame.

Do remember to book your pre-departure PCR test a few days in advance and go for the test earlier as generally, travellers who take the test less than 38 hours before the scheduled flight would not get back their test results in time.

Also, here is the list of approved clinics/testing centres/testing institutions that are able to conduct the PCR tests.

Note: MOH has stipulated that all common charges relating to the test should not exceed S$200 (inclusive of GST).

Note: Children aged 6 or younger in that calendar year are not required to take a pre-departure COVID-19 PCR test before departing Hong Kong for Singapore.

Step 3: Submit an online Health Declaration

According to the Hong Kong government, all travellers arriving in Hong Kong will need to undergo temperature screening and submit a Health Declaration within 48 hours prior to arrival in Hong Kong.

After submitting the online Health Declaration, a Health Declaration quick response (QR) code will be generated.

Take a screenshot of the QR code for seamless health screening at Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA).

FYI: the QR code is only valid for 48 hours.

Step 4: Book your Post-Arrival COVID-19 Test prior to departure to Hong Kong

Travellers are required to take a COVID-19 test upon arrival at Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA).

As such you are strongly encouraged to book and pay for your Post-Arrival COVID-19 Test on the Prenetics website before departing Singapore. You will receive a confirmation QR code from Prenetics after the booking is made.

You will then need to present this QR code while checking in for your flight at Singapore Changi Airport. ​

You’ll also need it when you get to Hong Kong.

Step 5: Check-in at Changi Airport for your designated ATB flight

Remember to bring your passport, a copy of your negative COVID-19 PCR test results and the Prenetics Post-Arrival COVID-19 Test QR code.

Step 6: Undergo temperature screening upon arrival at Hong Kong International Airport

Undergo temperature screening and present your Health Declaration QR code and the Prenetics Post-Arrival COVID-19 Test QR code so you can take the test.

Step 7: Take your Post-Arrival COVID-19 Test

The Post-Arrival COVID-19 Test will be conducted at the HKIA and costs HKD$499 (~S$85) per person.

Step 8: Go through Immigration Control and collect your baggage

Make sure you pick up the correct one off the carousel.

Step 9: Wait for your Post-Arrival COVID-19 Test result

The basic test will take about four hours.

And you can’t leave HKIA until you get a result.

So bring snacks, portable power banks, and chargers coz you’re gonna be there for a while.

Step 10: Go through Customs and Excise control

Step 11: Enjoy your holiday in Hong Kong!

Leave the airport and enjoy your quarantine-free stay in Hong Kong!

Once you are in Hong Kong you will also have to download and install the LeaveHomeSafe (LHS) app on their mobile devices prior to leaving Singapore for Hong Kong. Think Hong Kong version of the TraceTogether app.

Source: GovHK | LeaveHomeSafe App

During the duration of their stay in Hong Kong, travellers are required to scan the LHS QR codes displayed at the relevant premises they visit and retain their LHS app visitation records for 31 consecutive days after leaving Hong Kong.

More information can be found here.

What Is The Process of Returning to Singapore?

If you wish to be exempted from the Stay Home Notice upon returning to Singapore, you’ll need to:

  • Have no travel history to any country or region other than Singapore or Hong Kong in the last 14 days.
  • Take a Pre-Departure COVID-19 PCR Test at a recognised testing institution in Hong Kong and test negative for COVID-19.
  • Fill in and submit the SG Arrival Card at least three days before arriving in Singapore.
  • Travel by designated flight.

You can take your Pre-Departure COVID-19 PCR Test with Prenetics as well at a cost of ~S$85 (HKD$499).

Oh, you’ll also have to pay for the On-Arrival COVID-19 PCT Test in Singapore too.

And that’ll cost you S$160 (inclusive of GST).

However, children aged 6 or younger in that calendar year are not required to take an On-Arrival PCR Test upon arrival at Changi Airport.

Remember to book and pay in advance!

What If I Suay Suay Kena COVID-19?

CHOI! (Cantonese expression meaning touchwood).

According to the Ministry of Health (MOH):

with effect from 1 January 2021, all returning Singapore Citizen (SC), Permanent Resident (PR), long-term pass holder (LTPH) travellers who last left Singapore before 27 March 2020, as well as new SCs/ PRs/ LTPHs will also be responsible for their inpatient medical bills, should they develop onset of symptoms within 14 days of their arrival in Singapore.

This means that if you suay suay kena COVID-19 while travelling, the Singapore government will not be footing your medical bills in full.

I mean, it’s you who wanted to travel one what… so that’s only fair right?

However, SCs and PRs can use existing government subsidies and make claims under your health insurance (including MediShield Life, Integrated Shield plans, and private health insurance).

Whereas for LTPHs, they will have to tap on their usual financing arrangements, like private insurance for example.

Also, as part of the requirements under the Air Travel Pass (ATP), short-term visitors from Hong Kong must purchase travel insurance, with a minimum coverage of S$30,000 for COVID-19-related medical treatment and hospitalisation cost, prior to travel to Singapore.

More details here.

So do yourself a favour…

While you’re enjoying yourself in Hong Kong, remember to observe Hong Kong’s regulations and social distancing measures which include wearing masks and adhering to restrictions on group gatherings.

And observe strict personal hygiene!

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