Hong Kong and Singapore are planning to operate a travel bubble that would allow residents to travel between the cities without quarantine.
The plans have no official start date, however have been agreed in principle.
“This is a milestone in our efforts to resume normalcy while fighting against the long-drawn battle of COVID-19,” said Edward Yau, Hong Kong’s Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development.
Ong Ye Kung, Singapore’s Minister for Transport, said, “It is a safe, careful but significant step forward to revive air travel, and provide a model for future collaboration with other parts of the world.”
Earlier on Friday, the first flights from New Zealand to Australia landed without passengers having to undertake a previously mandatory two-week hotel quarantine.
Passengers arriving will have to complete a health declaration, though are otherwise able to continue their journey unrestricted.
The so-called trans-Tasman bubble, however, only operates one way, meaning Kiwis returning home on the return leg will have to quarantine in Auckland.
The Air New Zealand 787-9, ZK-NZR msn 65088, departed Auckland at 11:06am as flight NZ103 and touched down in Sydney at 11:59am after a two hour 53 minute journey.
It was followed by flights operated by both Jetstar (JQ204) and Qantas (QF146), which are estimated to be around half-empty in total.
World of Aviation has repeatedly reported on the so-called ‘travel bubbles’ or ‘green zones’, which have seen restrictions change rapidly between countries as COVID-19 cases rise and fall.
In July, for example, Ryanair CEO Eddie Wilson called Ireland’s green list of safe countries “bizarre”, “half-baked” and “ineffective”.
“The idea that we are going to splice up the European Union seems bizarre,” he said, while also noting how nonsensical it is to keep the border open between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, while excluding the rest of the UK.
A spokesman then pointed out there was a major oversight in the compilation of the list, stating that travellers coming from some of the named countries on the ‘green’ list would physically be unable to travel to Ireland without passing through a country that isn’t on the list.
“We have noticed no increase in booking activity between Ireland and Monaco, Gibraltar, Greenland or San Marino because there are no direct flights between Ireland and these four countries,” the spokesperson said.
“The only way to travel to these four countries is to go from other EU countries that are not on Ireland’s green list, which makes this list idiotic and useless.
“For example, Monaco has no airport, so you can only travel there via Nice in France, which is not on Ireland’s green list and so visitors to Ireland would have to quarantine.
“Similar with Gibraltar. It can only be accessed via Faro in Portugal or Malaga in southern Spain, so all visitors from Gibraltar to Ireland would have to quarantine even though Gibraltar is on this Father Ted green list.”