Singapore Airlines no longer working towards a timeline for Singapore-Australia travel bubble: Report

SINGAPORE: Singapore Airlines (SIA) is no longer working towards a timeline for the Singapore-Australia travel bubble, said SIA’s regional vice-president for Australia and the south-west Pacific Louis Arul on Thursday (Jun 24), according to a report by the Sydney Morning Herald.

Mr Arul was cited by the news outlet as saying that he was more concerned about how a travel bubble would work “because the how will determine the when”.

“The fear is that the implementation will be rushed,” Mr Arul reportedly said. “And in a situation like this where you need to be really spot on with your measures, you don’t want to rush the implementation.”

He added that SIA is “quite keen” to get discussions going “sooner rather than later, because the devil is always in the details”.

READ: Singapore, Australia in discussions on travel bubble

READ: Commentary: Singapore-Australia air travel bubble is sensible but politically challenging

On Friday, an SIA spokesperson said in response to CNA queries that the airline “strongly supports all efforts” to further open borders in a safe and calibrated manner.

The spokesperson said the airline will continue to work closely with the authorities to implement any necessary health and safety measures, adding that it was “unable to comment on bilateral discussions between governments”.

“Despite the resurgence of COVID-19 infections in many parts of the world, the growing pace of mass vaccination exercises in many of our key markets provides hope for further recovery in international air travel demand in the second half of 2021,” the spokesperson said.

“We will continue to adjust our capacity accordingly to meet traffic demand. In the midst of all the uncertainties, we believe that the key to overcoming our challenges is to remain nimble and flexible and be ready to grasp every opportunity that comes our way.”

READ: COVID-19: Singapore tightens border measures for travellers from Australia’s Victoria state 

READ: Students from Singapore could be given priority in pilot scheme for possible air travel bubble with Australia

In March, Singapore’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) said that both countries were in talks on a possible travel bubble.

Students from Singapore could be given priority to travel to Australia to pursue or complete their studies when the infrastructure for safe travel is in place, said Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison earlier in June after a meeting with Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

The leaders also discussed how two-way travel between the countries can eventually resume in a safe and calibrated manner “when both sides are ready”, said Mr Lee.

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