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Hong Kong, Singapore Welcome Back Transit Travelers

By Yang Ge / May 27, 2020 01:27 PM / World

Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

The skies over the major Asian hubs of Hong Kong and Singapore are about to get just a little friendlier, at least if you’re an international traveler.

The two cities have both announced they’ll reopen their airports to transiting travelers come June, with Hong Kong taking the step first next Monday followed by Singapore a day later.

Both had rolled up their red carpets for such travelers during the height of their local outbreaks in a bid to stop infections coming in from other countries. The move had a chilling effect on passenger flights to Hong Kong, with flights from non-mainland China destinations dropping from 100 per day in March to less than 30 in April and May.

The move to reopen Hong Kong for transit travel was met with cheers on the Chinese mainland, as it opened a new channel for thousands of Chinese nationals stranded abroad to finally return home.

After Hong Kong’s announcement on Tuesday, queries involving Hong Kong rose by more than seven times between 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. from the same time a day earlier on online booking platform Qunar, while actual bookings rose by nearly 10 times. On the Fliggy travel platform operated by e-commerce giant Alibaba, the number of search queries on transiting through Hong Kong increased nearly seven times.

Among international carriers, Air Canada and Qatar Airways are planning to resume flights to Hong Kong in June. Meantime, Singapore discount airline Scoot has announced plans to resume some flights in June to Guangzhou in China, as well as to the Malaysian cities of Penang, Ipoh and Kuching.

Contact reporter Yang Ge (geyang@caixin.com)

Related: Washington Pressures China to Let U.S. Airlines Come Back


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