Singapore extends $500-million aid to aviation industry

It is expected to cover wages for companies and support their workforce innovation

Singapore extends $500-million aid to aviation industry

Singapore's Ministry of Transport (MOT) has announced a new support package worth SGD500-million for its aviation sector in order to help the COVID-hit industry recover and boost its capabilities as more nations start reopening borders.

"We will provide funding to the sector to ensure that it has the capabilities and capacity to capture the recovery, as well as transform itself to emerge stronger from the crisis," said the MOT in a statement.

The programme, called the OneAviation Resilience Package, focuses on three key areas, namely manpower support, cost relief and support for public health safeguards, as well as industry and workforce transformation support.

Cost relief and support for public health safeguards received the highest allocation from the package with $390 million. It will focus on extending rebates on fees and charges payable by aviation stakeholders at Changi Airport and Seletar Airport for six months in the first instance, according to the MOT.

"We will also continue to defray the cost of implementing public health and safe management measures at the airport. This will enable safe air travel and protect our aviation workers and the wider community," added the ministry.

Read more: MOM to put premium in helping employers enforce hybrid work

Manpower support gets $60 million for the support package, where it be allotted to help companies boost core capabilities and improve their workforce.

Aviation companies will receive wage support thanks to the extension of the Aviation Workforce Retention Grant for six months, according to the ministry, which will cover 10% of the salaries paid to local employees from April to September 2022. This has a cap, however, of $4,600 of gross monthly wages per employee, clarified the MOT.

Lastly, the component of industry and workforce transformation support has a $50 million portion of the package, where it will help companies on their innovation and productivity, as well as their workforce transformation initiatives through the Aviation Development Fund.

"This will encourage the sector to invest in longer-term industry and workforce transformation efforts, so that our aviation companies and workers can emerge stronger in the post-pandemic world," said the MOT, citing as an example the use of autonomous and digital technology to improve airport operations and boost the productivity of the workforce.

Transport Minister S. Israwan said the OneAviation Resilience Package is an "affirmation of the government's commitment and confidence in the long-term growth and success" the country's aviation hub, underscoring its role in Singapore's position as a global trading and business hub.

"It is critical that we continue to support companies and workers in the sector, so that we can emerge stronger, and reclaim Changi's status as an international aviation hub," said the minister in a statement.

Singapore's aviation sector is one of the hardest-hit industries of the COVID-19 pandemic, following border closures around the world. According to the ministry, it is expecting further aviation recovery in 2022 if there are no unexpected in the situation with the pandemic.

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