SINGAPORE, 22 February 2021: Singapore’s Ministry of Transport confirmed the inclusion of an OneAviation Support Package of SGD870 million in the 2021 budget.
Acknowledging the global aviation sector suffered massive losses due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the package will enable aviation companies to preserve core capabilities while tiding them through the second year of the crisis.
The Ministry of Transport claimed it would help to preserve Singapore’s position as an aviation hub post-Covid-19. Other regional aviation hubs such as Thailand and Hong Kong have yet to announce financial support to keep their aviation industries competitive.
The financial package will attempt to stem the cuts in the workforce, saying it was imperative to ensure airlines and companies involved in aviation do not lose their core local capabilities that took many years to build up. There are two distinct divisions of funding within the support package.
Wage support and training
The OneAviation Support Package will enhance workforce support with a fund of SGD330 million. Part of the fund will provide 30% support for wages paid from April to June 2021 and 10% support wages paid from July to September 2021.
The package will also enhance wage support for companies in the aviation sector through an Aviation Workforce Retention Grant, to 50% support for wages paid to local employees from April to September 2021 (up to a cap of SGD4,600 of gross monthly wages). In other words, companies in the aviation sector that are currently eligible for Tier 1 support will receive an additional 20% support for wages paid to each local employee from April to June 2021 and an additional 40% support for wages paid to each local employee from July to September 2021.
In addition to wage support, companies in the Air Transport sector will continue to receive training support through the Enhanced Training Support Package, which has been extended to December 2021. On top of this, Singapore-based airlines will receive support to convert some of their existing pilots to operate other aircraft types to provide an adequate pool of trained pilots to support the eventual recovery.
Support to pay fees
The second division of the funding valued at SGD540 million covers operational fees. Pre-Covid-19, companies at the air hub had to pay various fees, such as landing and parking fees for airlines, rental for lounges and offices, and licence fees for ground handling and catering services. It even extends to support Covid-19 on-arrival testing requirements.
The package extends to existing rebates on fees and charges at Changi and Seletar Airport for another year. The rebate on fees payable by pilots, air traffic controllers and aircraft maintenance engineers will also be extended for another year.
Commenting on the support, Minister for Transport Ong Ye Kung said: “Aviation is one of the hardest-hit sectors during this pandemic, if not the hardest hit, as Changi and its stakeholders have lost 97.5% of its customers. Yet, for a city-state like Singapore, the air hub is essential to connect us with the rest of the world and continues to be our lifeblood. This support will help Changi tide through the crisis while we explore ways to reopen borders safely. I will speak more about this during the Committee of Supply debate.”