SINGAPORE — As Changi Airport maintains its leadership position among international air hubs globally, plans are under way to redesign it into a smart airport. Up to 8,000 new jobs will be created or redesigned to enhance productivity by about 40 per cent over the next eight years, said Minister for Education (Schools) and Second Minister for Transport Ng Chee Meng yesterday.
Unveiling the Air Transport Industry Transformation Map at this year’s Aviation Community Reception hosted by Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS), Mr Ng assured industry workers that new roles would be created and salaries would be improved.
With the help of advanced technology and skills training, the aviation sector aims to grow real value-add from about S$7 billion today by another S$1 billion by 2020.
“This is a very challenging target we are setting ourselves, as productivity in the sector has historically grown at lower rates. We need to be ambitious, if we want to stay ahead,” said Mr Ng. “We must address every aspect of the airport and airline business, from passenger services, to cargo handling, airside functions, airline operations and air traffic control. Improvements in one area cannot achieve their full potential unless complemented by changes in other areas.”
Mr Ng highlighted the journey of 70-year-old Rama Kerisna who joined airport services operator Dnata in 1979 at the old Paya Lebar site as a security officer.
Through skills upgrading, he is now a ramp trainer, mentoring newcomers and conducting programmes on topics such as human factors and airside safety. Mr Kerisna is also certified to conduct training for dangerous goods regulations, and is pursuing a specialist diploma with the International Air Transport Association.
As long as workers are willing to learn, they would have the support to develop a “long and meaningful” career in the aviation sector, pledged Mr Ng.
Sats employee Ang Hock Lye, who joined the ground-handling agent and in-flight services provider in 1983 as a cargo hand, started out lifting and sorting mail bags. Undergoing training to operate the automated systems at the AirHub, Mr Ang now combines three roles into one, as an eHub specialist in charge of forklift drivers, cargo handlers and operations assistants.
“Companies should ramp up the use of technology such as robotics to ease physically demanding and manual tasks in airport operations. Our workers can then be freed up to focus on more meaningful and value-added tasks,” Mr Ng added.
For example, remote apron operations can protect workers from harsh weather as they can use automated technology to control operations from the safety of a remote office and minimise time on the ground.
Singaporeans can also tap funded schemes for retraining and upskilling, such as the SkillsFuture Study Awards for the air transport sector. The Professional Conversion Programme also prepares mid-career entrants for new jobs and career progression in the aviation sector through structured training.
To attract the right talent and build capacity for industry, CAAS is developing a new air transport degree programme at the undergraduate level and exploring options to expand the range of aviation programmes at the Institute of Technical Education. Temasek Polytechnic will start a new part-time diploma in aviation management next week, and opportunities for internships and work-study training will be offered to smooth the transition of students into employment in the aviation sector.
INIATIVES TO ENHANCE PRODUCTIVITY
Automated Passenger Loading Bridge (PLB): World’s first automated PLB that can autonomously dock with an aircraft door, designed to operate under harsh weather conditions.
Aviation Transformation Programme Office by CAAS: To facilitate collaboration between industry and the research community.
Smart Tower: For remote air traffic control operations, allowing air traffic controllers to manage live air traffic and enhance situational awareness and visibility.
Space-based VHF Technology: To comprehensively cover the whole Singapore Flight Information Region (FIR) and overcome geographical limitations.
One-Man Pushback Operations: Remote-controlled aircraft pushback air tug for a single person on narrow body aircraft.
Dnata GPS Fleet Management System: To further enhance the management and reliability of ground support equipment.
3D Printed Cabin Parts: Transforming aircraft maintenance, saving time needed for parts to be transported, storage space for spares, quicker turnaround of aircraft servicing and lower logistics cost.
Max Airport Programme for PSAs: Frontline Passenger Service Agents (PSAs) will be equipped with tablets and portable printers to assist passengers in their check-in processes and any payment needs.
Centralised Dishwashing for Changi Airport at Terminal 3: To serve Terminals 1 to 4, as well as Jewel.
Jobs and Skills
Aviation-related Courses in ITE: More aviation offerings to prepare students for technical ground operations roles.
Air Transport Degree: An undergraduate degree programme in air transport to prepare graduates with industry-relevant skills.
Professional Conversion Programme: To help jump-start the careers of mid-career entrants into the air transport sector.
Drones: To collaborate with end-users and drone companies to test out innovative-use cases for drones. RUMI HARDASMALANI