Bubble Flight Agreement: All You Need to Know
The COVID-19 pandemic has greatly impacted the travel industry, with lockdowns and travel bans implemented all over the world to contain the spread of the virus. As a result, the concept of “bubble flights” has emerged as a possible solution for countries looking to reopen their borders while minimising the risk of infection.
What is a Bubble Flight Agreement?
A bubble flight agreement, also known as a travel corridor or air bridge, is a bilateral agreement between two countries that allows for the resumption of air travel without the need for quarantine. It is essentially a mutual recognition that both countries have low rates of infection and have implemented proper health and safety measures.
Under a bubble flight agreement, only passengers who have tested negative for COVID-19 are allowed to travel. They will also be subject to health screenings before departure and upon arrival. This means that passengers do not have to quarantine for a period of 14 days upon arrival in the destination country.
Examples of Bubble Flight Agreements
As of December 2020, several countries have implemented bubble flight agreements, including:
• Australia and New Zealand – This was the first bubble flight agreement in the world, allowing for quarantine-free travel between the two neighbouring countries.
• Hong Kong and Singapore – A bubble flight agreement was initially set to commence on 22 November 2020 but was postponed due to a surge in COVID-19 cases in Hong Kong.
• Taiwan and the Pacific island nation of Palau – This agreement is set to commence in 2021, allowing for quarantine-free travel between the two countries.
• Baltic states (Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania) – The three countries implemented a bubble flight agreement in May 2020, allowing for travel between the countries without quarantine.
Benefits and Drawbacks of Bubble Flight Agreements
The main benefit of a bubble flight agreement is that it allows for the resumption of international travel while minimizing the risk of infection. This is especially important for countries that depend heavily on tourism for their economy. It also gives people the opportunity to reunite with family and friends who live abroad.
However, a bubble flight agreement also has its drawbacks. If one country experiences a sudden surge in COVID-19 cases, it could lead to the suspension of the agreement. This was the case with the Hong Kong and Singapore bubble flight agreement. Additionally, the cost of COVID-19 tests and health screenings can be a barrier for some passengers, making travel more expensive.
Bubble flight agreements are a promising solution for countries looking to reopen their borders while minimizing the risk of infection. While it may have its drawbacks, it is an important step towards the revival of the travel industry. As the pandemic continues to evolve, more countries may explore the possibility of implementing bubble flight agreements to resume international travel.