Singapore and Australia airline shares soar after air travel bubble talks

Crew members and travelers of Singapore Airlines in the transit hall of Changi Airport in Singapore on January 14, 2021.

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SINGAPORE – Singapore Airlines shares rose Monday after the city-state confirmed talks were being held with Australia to create an air travel bubble.

Singapore Airlines shares rose 5.28% in the early afternoon after rising 8.49% earlier in the day. Airline-related stocks such as SATS, an in-flight catering subsidiary, rose 3.43%, while SIA Engineering rose 5.12%.

The Australian flag bearer Qantas gained 3.4%.

An air travel bubble would allow residents of Singapore and Australia to travel between the two countries without the need for quarantine. International travel routes have remained relatively limited as global borders remained closed last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Both Singapore and Australia appear to have brought the infection under relative control, while vaccination programs are also underway.

“Singapore is currently in talks with Australia on mutual recognition of vaccination certificates and resumption of priority travel for students and business travelers,” the Singapore State Department said in a statement on Sunday.

“We are also discussing the possibility of an air travel bubble that will allow residents of Singapore and Australia to travel between the two countries without the need for quarantine,” the ministry said.

Australian nationals can drive home via Singapore without quarantine if they travel on approved transit routes and comply with state health protocols, it said.

Australian Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack told local media on Monday that Canberra may be looking for the Singapore travel bubble in July. According to a transcript of his remarks, he added that while discussions are productive, discussions are at an early stage.

Global tourism strikes

According to the tourism authority, the tourism sector in Singapore declined sharply in the first nine months of 2020. International visitor arrivals were down 81.2% year over year to just 2.7 million, and tourism income was down 78.4% to $ 4.4 billion (US $ 3.27 billion) .

The city-state has been trying to create an air travel bubble with Hong Kong since last year. But it was postponed after Hong Kong reported a resurgence in new Covid-19 cases.

Last week, Singapore’s Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung told CNBC that the country was not giving up on attempting a travel bubble deal with Hong Kong.

In Singapore, visitors from certain countries including Australia, New Zealand, mainland China and Taiwan have been able to skip the quarantine if they meet certain requirements – such as a negative Covid-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test on arrival.

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