Government to ensure Changi Airport stays competitive amid Qantas-Emirates tie-up
Minister of State for Transport and Finance Josephine Teo said measures will be put in place to ensure Changi Airport remains competitive.
She added that the government views the recent tie-up between Qantas and Emirates seriously, and is watching developments very closely.
The new alliance between Qantas and Dubai-based Emirates means the Australian carrier will bypass Singapore and shift its European connection point to Dubai.
From April next year, Qantas flights from Australia to London and Frankfurt, and vice-versa, would stop passing through Singapore.
Mrs Teo said the tie-up did not catch her by surprise as airlines squeezed by profit margin will have to do this.
Mrs Teo said that Changi Airport has not taken things easy, and) the collaboration is a reminder that Singapore's air hub status cannot be taken for granted.
In spite of increasing competition, Changi Airport still has its strengths, and is considered by many cities as a reference point.
Mrs Teo stressed that Changi Airport has to build on its existing standards and quality.
Singapore also has to leverage on ASEAN and service regional connection more.
As regional airports look ahead with aggressive plans to expand capacities, Singapore has to face the competition head on.
Mrs Teo said the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) and the Transport Ministry will have to look at how to build up capacity, offer good products and at the same time be responsive to changes in the market.)
Industry players say the tie-up has significant impact.
Fergus Lopez is the Honorary Secretary of the Association of Aerospace Industries.
"Less flights mean less line maintenance, it also affects other industries like catering and the service industries that supports these flights coming in and certainly of course less flights coming in less people coming into Singapore. It's not a total disaster, but Singapore needs to be cautious that with point to point flights destinations that they don't lose their status as either a hub or as a city to visit."
To address the competition, the Government has set up a multi-agency Changi 2036 Steering Committee to ensure Singapore remains a premier aviation and aerospace hub.
The Committee will present its recommendations by the end of the year.
Mrs Teo said the Committee's work is on schedule.
"A decision will be made by the end of the year on the target date for Runway 3 to be available for civilian use. We are also carefully studying the optimal use of the 1,000 ha of land that is available for development, including the configuration of future terminal capacity and airside-dependant industrial activity."
Mrs Teo also highlighted the need for the aerospace industry to maintain a good safety track-record.
She said that as a key aerospace hub serving regional and global customers, it's crucial that Singapore maintain and improve its high safety and quality standards.
A key initiative is the formation of the Aerospace Safety Steering Committee, which will give focussed attention to safety promotion and catalyse further government-industry collaboration on safety.
Specifically, the Committee will assist in the development and delivery of safety training curricula, identify minimum safety standards, and work with regulators to ensure that aerospace safety regulations remain relevant and keep pace with developments in the industry.
A Pro-Tem Board has also been set up to improve the professionalism of aerospace personnel involved in inspecting and testing of materials.
The Singapore National Aerospace Non-Destructive Testing Board (SNANDTB) seeks to harmonise the overall NDT standards in the industry.
-By Saifulbahri Ismail
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