An enclosed departure lounge at the Hong Kong International Airport Terminal.
Miguel Candela | SOPA pictures | LightRocket via Getty Images
SINGAPORE – Singapore and Hong Kong have again delayed the start of their bilateral "travel bubble" and postponed the plan after 2020, authorities in both cities said on Tuesday.
The most recent postponement came after an earlier decision to postpone the launch of the air travel bubble for two weeks after Hong Kong reported a resurgence of new Covid-19 cases. The first flights under the deal, which originally allowed travelers to skip the quarantine, were scheduled to begin on November 22nd.
"Singapore and Hong Kong have continued to investigate the COVID-19 situation in Hong Kong. Given that the number of unlinked local cases is still high, both parties have decided to start the Singapore-Hong Kong Air Travel Bubble (ATB) on postponed beyond December 2020, "the Singapore Civil Aviation Authority (CAAS) said in a statement.
Both the Singapore Aviation Authority and the Hong Kong government have announced that they will review the deal again in late December to set a new launch date.
Since the travel bubble first moved, the new Covid-19 infections in Hong Kong have continued to rise. The city reported 76 more cases on Monday – its cumulative infections since the outbreak rose to 6,315, official data showed.
Meanwhile, Singapore appears to have kept its outbreak domestically under control and has reported mostly imported cases in recent weeks. The cumulative cases in the city hit 58,218 on Monday, data from the Ministry of Health showed.
The Singapore-Hong Kong travel bubble was first announced in October as the two major Asian business hubs tried to repair some of the economic damage the coronavirus pandemic had inflicted on their tourism and aviation industries.
Both cities do not have domestic air travel markets, and their tourism and aviation industries are heavily reliant on international travel. Last year, according to official statistics from both sides, Hong Kong received more than 453,000 visitors from Singapore, while Singapore received 489,000 visitors from Hong Kong.
The bilateral travel bubble won't bring as many visitors back, but Singapore's Minister of Transport Ong Ye Kung had called the deal "the first of its kind" that could help resume international travel.
– CNBC's Karen Gilchrist contributed to this report.