SINGAPORE has come a long way from its earlier days as a technical stop between Europe and Australia. From the outset, its aviation policies emphasized open skies, and the city-state’s airport was designed to facilitate hassle-free connections between flights. Today, Singapore’s Changi Airport serves nearly 7,000 flights every week, connecting passengers to more than 380 cities worldwide.
Transforming the aviation sector
The Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) is working with stakeholders to build an even more vibrant air hub. Unveiled in April 2017 by Second Minister for Transport Ng Chee Meng, the Air Transport Industry Transformation Map (ITM) provides a roadmap for the future of Singapore aviation through a pipeline of initiatives.
The target is for the aviation sector to achieve value-added growth of 16 percent from2015 to 2020, boost productivity by 3 to 4 percent per annum and create an additional 8,000 good aviation jobs by 2025. This will be done through four key thrusts.
Thrust 1: Innovation
To encourage businesses to pioneer novel solutions to solve pressing issues facing aviation today, the CAAS will set up test-beds and support companies’ experimentation with new technology and processes.
Thrust 2: Productivity
The ITM will seek higher productivity by accelerating the use of technology, redesigning work processes and encouraging new ways of doing business, in order to overcome manpower and resource constraints.
For instance, aiport companies such as SATS are exploring the use of autonomous vehicles, both within the terminals and on the apron. This will allow workers to be redeployed from routine driving to higher value-added roles, such as managing fleets of these unmanned vehicles and ensuring timely and accurate aircraft departures.
With the implementation of Fast and Seamless Travel (FAST) at Changi Airport, self-service processes are now offered at key passenger touch points. Automated check-in and bag-drop facilities can already be found at Terminals 1, 2 and 3. A full suite of FAST automated options with biometric integration for check-in, bag-drop, immigration clearance and boarding will be implemented at the new Terminal 4 when it opens later this year. This will greatly reduce manual passenger processing.
Thrust 3: Jobs and Skills
To keep pace with growth, the aviation sector will also need to deepen the skills of the workforce.
Schemes for skills upgrading, like the Skills Future Study Awards for the Air Transport Sector, encourage Singaporeans to develop and deepen career-related specialist skills, while the Professional Conversion Program makes it easier for mid-career workers to take up aviation jobs. The CAAS will also be developing a new air transport degree program, which offers opportunities for internships and work-study stints to facilitate graduates’ seamless entry into the sector.
Thrust 4: Enterprise
Last but not least, the CAAS will provide opportunities for local businesses to grow. For example, it will be issuing a Call for Proposals (CFP) to collaborate with end-users and drone companies to test out innovative use case for drones.
Contributing to international civil aviation
Singapore is actively engaged with the international civil aviation community through its participation in global and regional bodies. It is currently a member of the Council of the International Civil Aviation Organization, ICAO’s Air Navigation Commission and over 110 ICAO expert bodies. Singapore heads 18 of these expert bodies and has seconded experts in air navigation, aviation safety and aviation security to the ICAO Secretariat at its Montreal Headquarters and the Asia-Pacific Regional Office in Bangkok. It is also a key member of the Civil Air Navigation Services Organization.
In support of the push toward an Asean Single Aviation Market, the CAAS heads the Asean Aviation Regulatory Monitoring System, which seeks to align the regulatory systems of Asean member states with ICAO Standards and Recommended Practices.
In another initiative, the CAAS has teamed up with Air Navigation Service Providers (ANSPs) from other Asia-Pacific countries to test the Distributed Multi-Nodal Air Traffic Flow Management (ATFM). This information- sharing framework among airspace users, airport operators and ANSPs aims to regulate the departures of flights to cut airborne holding times and minimize delays on arrival. It will reduce imbalances between air traffic demand and capacity at key airports, as well as fuel burn and carbon emissions.
Operational trials to validate the ATFM concept have been ongoing since 2015, in partnership with China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand, and have yielded positive results. A three-day operational trial in August 2016 at Changi Airport, involving a total of 112 flights, saw a reduction in airborne holding times by approximately six minutes on average, which equates to aggregated fuel savings of approximately S$100,000.
Capturing passenger mindshare with Jewel Changi Airport
Even as it works to enhance the safety, security, efficiency and sustainability of Changi Airport, Singapore is mindful that an enjoyable passenger experience is also key to its success. To further elevate the Changi Experience, Jewel Changi Airport is under construction. Jewel sits in the middle of and connects Changi Airport Terminals 1 to 3, and provides not just facilities for airport operations such as expanded arrival and baggage claim halls for Terminal 1, dedicated services for fly-cruise and fly-coach passengers and early check-in facilities, but also unique lifestyle offerings, including gardens and other attractions, retail and dining options and a hotel. Jewel will open in 2019.
Located at Jewel’s topmost level, the Canopy Park will feature three iconic attractions that blend into lush greenery – Sky Nets, Canopy Mazes and Discovery Slides. In addition, there will be open areas where children will be able to wander amid the greenery. One such area, Foggy Bowls, will incorporate mists to simulate the experience of playing among the clouds.
Emphasizing Singapore’s aim to be a City in a Garden, Jewel will house one of the country’s largest indoor plant collections, with Canopy Park boasting of over 1,400 trees and palms. Nestled among winding walkways, the Topiary Walk will surprise visitors with its animal-shaped topiaries at every turn, while the Petal Garden will showcase seasonal floral displays.
The highlight of Canopy Park is the 50-meter long Canopy Bridge, which provides visitors with an excellent vantage point to enjoy the breathtaking 40-meter high Rain Vortex, which is slated to be the world’s tallest indoor waterfall. Suspended 23 meters above ground, the Canopy Bridge will incorporate glass panel flooring in its center for visitors to look right through to the ground floor of Jewel.
With these unique offerings, Jewel promises to strengthen Changi Airport’s appeal as one of the world’s leading air hubs.