The confirmed Singapore-Hong Kong air travel bubble is a shining
example of how city pairs can reignite air travel in the region, says
the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA).
“It’s a step in the right direction,” said AAPA director general,
Subhas Menon. “It’s an example of assessing and successfully applying
Flights between Singapore and Hong Kong will become daily from 7
December with not more than 200 passengers allowed on each flight.
Menon expects travel within Asia to first resume with city pairs
while long-haul travel to Europe and the US will take longer to
“Countries that have largely contained the virus will hopefully now
turn their attention to opening up their borders and revitalising travel
and tourism,” he said.
AAPA’s 64th Assembly of Presidents, held virtually this year due to
the Covid-19 pandemic, heard that there are no firm multilateral
arrangements for restarting air travel.
Menon said governments are still “inwardly focused” and were
reluctant to agree on a global risk assessment framework, “which means
equal risk and response for safe travel between countries”.
“We need a common platform where countries can speak to each other and share information,” he added.
Among all regions, the fall in air traffic is steepest in Asia
Pacific where airlines currently carry less than two million
international passengers per month, compared to 39 million a month in
Losses for airlines will exceed US$84 billion worldwide this year.
Asia Pacific airlines will account for more than a third of the losses
or US$29 billion.
The AAPA summit took place against a background of intense pressure
on airlines in Asia to survive the global pandemic but Menon expects
“rationalisation not consolidation’ of airlines, despite some carriers
having just one to three months of cash in hand and adopting different
“All airlines are in the same boat and it’s really a story of
conserving cash and getting government and shareholder support,” he