SINGAPORE: Customers who no longer wish to travel between Singapore and Hong Kong due to the deferment of the air travel bubble can request a full refund of the "unutilised portion" of their ticket and have the cancellation fees waived, a Singapore Airlines (SIA) spokesperson said on Saturday (Nov 21).
The launch of the air travel bubble, which was supposed to be on Sunday, has been deferred for two weeks after a spike in COVID-19 cases in Hong Kong.
The deferment was announced by Singapore Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung in a Facebook post on Saturday, after he held discussions with Hong Kong's Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Edward Yau.
READ: Singapore-Hong Kong air travel bubble launch deferred for 2 weeks after COVID-19 cases spike in Hong Kong
“Singapore Airlines supports the decision by the Singapore and Hong Kong authorities to defer the launch of the air travel bubble,” the SIA spokesperson added.
“The health and safety of our customers remain our top priority. Affected customers are being contacted by Singapore Airlines."
Flights under the air travel bubble were dedicated flights operated by SIA and Cathay Pacific.
SIA said on its website on Saturday that its flights between Singapore and Hong Kong (SQ890 and SQ891) from Nov 22 to Dec 6, both dates inclusive, will now operate as non-air travel bubble flights.
"Customers will need to ensure that they meet the respective entry requirements and adhere to quarantine measures upon arrival," the airline added.
In response to CNA's queries, Cathay Pacific said that its inaugural air travel bubble flight (CX759) on Sunday has been cancelled. Passengers can change their booking, request a full refund or exchange their ticket for airline credits without charge.
For passengers booked on Cathay Pacific air travel bubble flights between Nov 24 and Dec 5, they have automatically been placed on new, non-air travel bubble flights departing at the same date and time as their original booking.
"Normal quarantine rules will apply" for these flights, the airline said. Passengers can also change or cancel their booking without charge. The airline said it will be reaching out to affected customers.
LAUNCH DATE TO BE REVIEWED
"Given the evolving situation in Hong Kong, (Mr) Yau and I discussed further this afternoon and decided that it would be better to defer the launch of the air travel bubble by two weeks," Mr Ong said in his Facebook post.
"We will review within two weeks on the new launch date and update again.”
Mr Yau added: "In the light of the recent surge of local cases, we have decided, together with the Singapore government, to defer the air travel bubble's launch by two weeks."
On Saturday, Hong Kong reported 43 new COVID-19 cases, of which 36 were locally transmitted. Thirteen of Saturday's cases were from unknown transmission sources.
The city had reported 26 new COVID-19 infections on Friday.
A spokesperson for Hong Kong's Food and Health Bureau added: "The number of confirmed local cases with unknown sources of infection has been on a rising trend recently, indicating the existence of silent transmission chains in the community."
Hong Kong has seen a spike in the number of COVID-19 cases, a situation the city's Secretary for Food and Health Sophia Chan described on Friday as "severe".