Sunday, 21 February 2016

Singapore has 10 percent share of global aerospace maintenance, repair and overhaul market

Jobs growth taking off amid aviation boom
Aerospace growth here averages 8.6% over last 20 years
By Zhaki Abdullah, The Straits Times, 19 Feb 2016

Singapore now has a 10 per cent share of the global aerospace maintenance, repair and overhaul market, Acting Minister for Education Ong Ye Kung revealed last night.

Speaking at a JTC networking event held at ITE College Central, he said the local aerospace industry has been growing at an average of 8.6 per cent over the last 20 years and today makes up about 1 per cent of Singapore's gross domestic product.

"Employment in the sector has been growing steadily, from 9,200 in 1995 to 16,000 in 2005 and 20,000 now, of whom 80 per cent are Singaporeans," said Mr Ong, who is also Senior Minister of State for Defence.

He said the long-term prospects of the industry remain positive, with industry experts estimating that 38,000 aeroplanes will be needed globally within the next two decades, approximately 40 per cent of which will be delivered to airlines in the Asia-Pacific.

Mr Ong said this would feed demand in Singapore, with more jobs expected to be created in the sector between now and 2020.

More local companies are hoping to grab a slice of the growing aerospace pie. Thirty-eight, including 13 first-timers, participated in the Singapore pavilion at this year's Singapore Airshow. This is up from 30 in 2014, and represents the largest showing by local firms at the air show since its inception.

Eleven were small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) representing diverse aspects of the industry, from engineering firm JEP Precision Engineering to fleet advertising firm BusAds.

Mr Edwin Ho, deputy director for aerospace at JTC, believes there is a place for SMEs in an industry dominated by multinationals such as Rolls-Royce and Pratt & Whitney.

"The industry is big enough for all players," said Mr Ho.

BusAds director Alvin Yapp believes SMEs can hold their own against larger companies.

"SMEs are hungry and nimble, so anything is possible," he said.

Steps to boost Changi air traffic management
Big investments needed to ensure safety, says Josephine Teo; number of flights may double by end of next decade
By Karamjit Kaur, Aviation Correspondent, The Straits Times, 19 Feb 2016

Air traffic controllers in Singapore will have their work cut out for them, with the number of flights possibly doubling by the time Changi Airport Terminal 5 opens at the end of the next decade.

Significant investments in air traffic management systems are needed to ensure the safety of the millions of people who fly every year.

This is a key area of focus for Singapore, said Senior Minister of State for Transport Josephine Teo.

By the end of the next decade, Singapore could handle 700,000 flights a year, twice as many as it is handling now, she told reporters on the sidelines of the Singapore Airshow yesterday.

On top of about 350,000 flights that Changi handled last year, there were another 300,000 flights that cut across Singapore skies.

Said Mrs Teo: "It is not going to be enough just to build airport capacity and have lots of room for airlines to move in and out, because if you don't have the air traffic management capabilities, you won't be able to deal with the capacity."

By the time T4 opens in the second half of next year and the first phase of T5 is ready by the end of the next decade, Changi would have more than doubled its current annual passenger-handling capacity of 66 million travellers.

SINGAPORE AIRSHOW 2016 - BEHOLD THE FUTURE...Planes, Planes, Planes, everywhere! Did you get a glimpse of the aerial...
Posted by Josephine Teo on Sunday, February 21, 2016

Singapore has launched several initiatives to boost air traffic management capabilities and capacity.

For example, the time separation or intervals between planes, especially during the peak periods, has been reduced to allow more flights to land and take off.

The Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) also works closely with the Changi Airport Group to minimise runway closure times for maintenance and other works.

In 2012, the CAAS set up a $200 million fund to conduct research into air traffic management.

So far, about $120 million has been earmarked for various projects, Mrs Teo said.

Apart from Singapore beefing up its capabilities, it is also vital for countries in the region to cooperate to ensure that flights can be managed efficiently and safely, she said, adding that air traffic controllers cannot work in silos.

"You are only as efficient as whoever it is around you that you take over flights from and you hand over flights to. The ability to do that in a smooth and efficient manner is also very important," Mrs Teo said.

European Commissioner for Transport Violeta Bulc told The Straits Times earlier this week that the European Union (EU) is happy to share its experience with ASEAN's 10 member states.

Both blocs have started working to seal the world's first bloc-to-bloc open skies deal.

This will allow ASEAN carriers and airlines based in the EU's 28 member countries to fly freely between the two regions.

Industry experts said the need to beef up air traffic capabilities will become more urgent as ASEAN moves towards open skies within the region.

While much progress has been made in the push for liberalisation, work remains.

Indonesia, for example, has yet to ratify a deal, which was to have been sealed at the end of last year, to allow ASEAN airlines free access to all Indonesian points.

Mrs Teo said, however, that she is encouraged by the tone and stance that Indonesian President Joko Widodo has adopted.

"He has indicated that Indonesia very much welcomes foreign investments and he wants to strengthen this aspect of his administration...

"Air connectivity and the ASEAN open skies feed directly into what he hopes to achieve for Indonesia."

She added: "When they are able to ratify ASEAN open skies, it will provide a major impetus for the ASEAN economic community to come together in a stronger way."

Airspace coverage 'not just about sovereignty'
By Karamjit Kaur, The Straits Times, 19 Feb 2016

Sovereignty is not a factor when it comes to carving up airspace.

More important are technical and operational capabilities, said Senior Minister of State for Transport Josephine Teo yesterday.

She was commenting on recent moves by Indonesia to reclaim parts of its airspace currently managed by Singapore air traffic controllers.

The Republic has overseen the affected areas in Riau - including the resort islands of Batam and Bintan - since 1946. This was when it was handed the responsibility by the United Nations' International Civil Aviation Organisation, which regulates global commercial aviation.

Mrs Teo said: "It is not unusual at all for flight information regions (airspace managed by a country) to cross national boundaries."

In fact, Indonesia's area of coverage overlaps with Timor Leste's territorial airspace, she noted.

"This is an issue that has nothing to do with sovereignty and everything to do with technical and operational requirements," she stressed.

Safety and efficiency are the priorities "that we should all be aligned and focused on", Mrs Teo said. "It is on this basis that we interact with our Indonesian counterparts... The Indonesians are very clear about where we are coming from and we will continue this conversation with them."

The matter came to light last September when Indonesian President Joko Widodo asked officials to improve their personnel and equipment, so the country can take over airspace management. The aim is to do so in three or four years, Indonesian media reported at the time.

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