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Travel bubble between Singapore and Australia may open in July 2021

Singapore and Australia is reported to explore a travel bubble for general travel by July 2021, according to Australian media.

Australian and Singapore governments have confirmed that they are working on a reciprocal travel bubble for vaccinated travellers, targeted to be launched as early as July 2021. This was first announced by the Sydney Morning Herald, and subsequently reported in many other Australian and Singapore media.

Proposed Australia – Singapore Travel Bubble

Sydney, Australia

Under the proposed bubble, Australian residents would be allowed to travel to Singapore for work or leisure without approval from the Australian Department of Home Affairs if they have been vaccinated.

Similarly, Singapore residents who have received their Covid-19 vaccination will be able to travel to Australia for work, study or holidays, without the need for isolation.

IATA Travel Pass

What is critical to this plan is a form of vaccination passport, similar to IATA’s Travel Pass Initiative, which Singapore Airlines is currently testing. Australia is not using the Travel Pass Initiative, but instead is using a different digital certificate called ExpressPlus Medicare. There will be issues of mutual recognition to be sorted out before details of the rollout can be announced.

According to reports, more discussions above the details will take place in the coming months between both governments. 

Which airline is operating between Singapore and Australia anyway?

Singapore Airlines has currently announced its schedule up till May 2021. Flights currently planned for Australia include:

CityWeekly flights
Adelaide3x per week
Brisbane6x per week (Daily from April)
SydneyTwice daily (17x per week from April)

Scoot operated Sydney and Melbourne services for a while last year, but these have since been suspended.

Non-Singapore based carriers are not expected to operate flights to Australia for now. Qantas is not expected to resume scheduled international passenger flights until October 2021, even though it’s currently operating cargo-only flights, which can be quickly converted to passenger services if the travel bubble takes off.

British Airways has suspended its Singapore-Sydney leg indefinitely, while Emirates’ Singapore-Melbourne leg is also on hold.

Final Thoughts

While Singapore’s air travel bubble arrange with Hong Kong failed to take off, this new development with Australia is looking to be promising, although if there’s anything to be learnt from past experiences is: don’t count your eggs until they are hatched.

As it stands, Singapore has currently given out just over 600,000 doses of the vaccines, and only 200,000 people have received both doses. This means that majority of the population in Singapore have still yet to receive them. If vaccination is mandatory in order to be eligible to travel under this Singapore-Australia air travel bubble, the take-off will almost certainly be much slower in the first couple of months.

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