HONG KONG: Flights for the initial phase of the Hong Kong-Singapore travel bubble have all but sold out in both directions, according to the websites of Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd and Singapore Airlines Ltd.
The bubble is due to open on May 26, and demand was always going to outstrip supply given there will only be one return flight per day between the two financial hubs at first, and with capacity limited to 200 travellers.
There were no departure flights available Wednesday morning on Cathay’s website until June 5. Searches for designated bubble flights with Singapore Airlines yielded nothing until the agreement broadens to the carrier offering daily flights from June 9.
An economy-class Singapore Airlines ticket for a flight leaving on June 16 and returning from Hong Kong on June 18, for example, was available for US$466. Cathay has a basic economy bubble flight from Hong Kong on June 16 and returning on June 18 priced at US$380. The Cathay flight leaving Hong Kong on June 5 and returning June 8 costs US$902.
Hong Kong and Singapore announced details of the plan on Monday. Initially due to open last November, the travel bubble was shelved due to a jump in Covid-19 cases in Hong Kong.
After a couple of more false starts and months of negotiations, the plan is back on track and will allow people to travel between the cities without having to quarantine. Flights could be suspended if infections rise above five in either city for an extended period.
The first Cathay flight is slated to leave Hong Kong at 9.10am on May 26. Singapore Airlines’ departure that day is 8.40am.
Cathay’s shares slipped 1.7% Wednesday, trimming their gain this week to 1.2%. Singapore Airlines fell 2.3% after rallying 5.4% Monday through Tuesday.