Singapore aviation to get another S$84m to support firms and workers, says CAAS

Some of the funds will go towards measures to protect Singapore aviation employees from contracting Covid-19. — TODAY pic
Some of the funds will go towards measures to protect Singapore aviation employees from contracting Covid-19. — TODAY pic

SINGAPORE, Dec 30 — The battered aviation sector will receive another S$84 million (RM255.9 million) from the government to support firms and workers who have been hit hard by the pandemic, the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) said in a statement yesterday. 

This is in addition to the previous support measures rolled out by the authorities for the sector, such as the Aviation Sector Assistance Package and the Enhanced Aviation Support Package.

Some of the funding will be used to support the development, adoption and deployment of various technologies and measures to protect airport workers and air crew from contracting the coronavirus.

Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung said in a video posted on Facebook that although some sectors have started to recover from the pandemic, the “harsh winter continues” for the aviation sector.“Changi Airport remains quiet. We continue to carry just over 2 per cent of our usual passenger volume,” he said.

Still, he stressed that the current challenge is a test of the sector’s adaptation, determination and resilience.“We will recover and soar again,” he said.

CAAS said that it will also continue to waive the fees usually paid by Singapore-based airlines for their Certificates of Airworthiness, as well as their licence fees for providing scheduled air services.

The waiver will apply to fees payable between April 1, 2020 and March 31, 2021, the authority added.

The government will also provide a 50 per cent rebate for licence fees for ground handling and catering services at Changi Airport and Seletar Airport for the same period.

These assistance measures will cost about S$39 million, said CAAS.

Help for workers

To support workers, the Government will give pilots, air traffic controllers and aircraft maintenance engineers who have to pay for their licence fees and medical evaluation fees a full rebate for fees payable between April 1, 2020 and March 31, 2021.

Additional support will be provided to develop new programmes for aviation workers who want to transition to other jobs in the sector, CAAS said.

It will work together with SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG), Workforce Singapore, the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) LearningHub and the NTUC Aerospace and Aviation Cluster to help these at-risk and under-employed aviation workers acquire the necessary skills to transition to new job roles.

More details will be announced next month.

CAAS will also work with SSG to provide funding support to Singapore-based airlines to re-train their pilots and keep their skills relevant. 

This is to ensure that there is a sufficient number of pilots once Singapore recovers from the pandemic, it added.

These support measures to help workers will amount to S$20 million.

Encouraging innovation and productivity

An additional S$25 million will be pumped into the Aviation Development Fund to encourage firms to continue with their innovation and productivity efforts, said CAAS.

This will provide funding support of up to 90 per cent to companies for their initiatives until the end of the next financial year, which ends on March 31, 2022.

“Such productivity efforts will improve the attractiveness of the sector to Singaporeans, support the employability of older workers, and reduce the sector’s reliance on foreign workforce in the longer-term,” said CAAS. — TODAY