Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung stated BILATERAL travel corridors for vaccinated passengers from places with low to moderate infection rates may well come into being in the second half of this year, as Singapore continues to explore ways to open up its borders and revive air travel.
In an interview with Money FM 89.3, Ong said stay-home notices and other quarantine measures will put the travel industry in a bad position.
While vaccinations process is on-going, this needs to work in tandem with other measures such as testing, movement restrictions and identifying countries that are “safe” and have successfully controlled the virus, Ong said.
For instance, Singapore could open up to travellers from places with moderate infection rates but have ongoing vaccinations.
“(Combine that) with testing, and you can possibly open up a safe travel corridor, ” he added.
In regards to air travel bubbles, Ong said such arrangements require reciprocity, noting that Singapore has already opened its borders unilaterally to travellers from countries and territories that have a handle on the virus, such as Australia, New Zealand and China, and this has not led to community infections here.
Meanwhile, Singapore’s air travel bubble with Hong Kong, which was supposed to begin last November, remains on the ice, as the city saw yet another flare-up in cases this week.
Ong said Singapore is still in a “crisis situation”, noting that the passenger volume at Changi Airport is only at 2.6% of the levels seen before the Covid-19 pandemic.
He said he shared the same view as International Air Transport Association (Iata) director Alexandre de Juniac, who said this week that personal and leisure travel will return from the second half of this year.
Though, Ong cautioned that this was neither a prediction or an estimate but “a guess”, and reiterated that it was unrealistic to expect the aviation sector here to have a “V-shaped” recovery.