With talk of an Australia-New Zealand travel bubble seeming to grind along without any likelihood of a quick resolution, there is now a possibility of an Australia-Singapore bubble becoming the priority.
Ministers in both Governments are said to be working on a plan that will allow largely unimpeded travel between the two nations by around July.
Both countries have been able to control Covid-19 better than most, and the international route between Australia and Singapore is one of the busiest and most lucrative.
Singapore is one of the busiest routes
According to the website Simply Flying, in 2019 the busiest international route in and out of Australia was between Melbourne and Singapore. Four of the 10 busiest routes in and out of Australia in 2019 were to and from Singapore.
The travel bubble proposals call for Australians to be allowed to travel to Singapore without approval, on condition that they have been vaccinated for coronavirus.
Similarly, Singapore residents who are vaccinated would be able to travel to Australia without having to undergo two weeks of hotel quarantine.
Potential for a Singapore quarantine
There may also be potential for residents of other countries to enter Australia via Singapore after first completing quarantine there.
Speaking yesterday (Sunday) to the Insiders program on the ABC, Australia’s Deputy Prime Minister, Michael McCormack, confirmed a bubble could be in place by mid-year.
“These are positive signs and as the vaccine rolls out, not only in Australia but in other countries, we will reopen more bubbles,” he said.
Route had 6-million travellers in 2019
Singapore Airlines already operates a limited service to Australia and has been doing so for the past year. Despite this, travel between the two countries declined by almost 80% during 2020.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics says nearly 6-million passengers flew between Australia and Singapore in 2019 and there were just under 25,000 airline flights.
“Besides facilitating tourist traffic, the travel bubble between Singapore and Australia can potentially help reboot the normally substantial business travel, student travel and VFR (visiting friends and relatives) travel between the two countries,” Simply Flying observed.