Singapore, India not discussing air travel bubble, says CAAS

Singapore and India are not discussing an air travel bubble arrangement. — TODAY pic
Singapore and India are not discussing an air travel bubble arrangement. — TODAY pic

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SINGAPORE, Jan 29 — Singapore and India are not discussing an air travel bubble arrangement “as Singaporeans understand it to be”, the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) said yesterday.

The clarification comes in response to queries regarding comments that were made by India's High Commissioner to Singapore P. Kumaran during an interview with CNBC that was aired on Monday.

Answering a question about an air travel bubble between the two countries, Kumaran said there was a “fair amount of interest on both sides to try and enhance the connectivity which we have enjoyed over the years”.

There were talks about “a proposal” to try and restore this connectivity as well as a “draft under negotiation”, he said.

On August 18 last year, Indian Minister for Housing and Urban Affairs Hardeep Singh Puri said in a tweet that India was negotiating with 13 countries — including Singapore — to establish repatriation flights for those who had been stranded.

Daniel Ng, air transport director of CAAS, said yesterday Thursday that countries may have different understandings on what an air travel bubble is.

“Currently, air travel between Singapore and India is restricted only to special repatriation flights chartered by the Indian government,” he said.

There was, however, interest from both countries to explore resuming international scheduled commercial passenger flights gradually, he added.

“Travellers will be subject to travel restrictions, border and health measures, such as testing and SHN (stay-home notices). Discussions are ongoing.”

Singapore had previously made plans to set up an air travel bubble with Hong Kong, which would have allowed all forms of travel between both sides — with designated flights each day and travellers having to take Covid-19 tests in lieu of a quarantine or stay-home notice period.

The bubble was indefinitely postponed after Hong Kong reported an increase in the number of Covid-19 cases. — TODAY

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