CAAS and JCAB concurred on the necessity to facilitate resumption of flights and city links and to implement green air traffic management (ATM), amongst other initiatives at the 2nd Singapore-Japan Dialogue on Aviation Collaboration

The Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) and the Japan Civil Aviation Bureau (JCAB) will work towards improving air connectivity to meet robust air travel demand and make flying greener between the two countries. At the 2nd Singapore-Japan Dialogue on Aviation Collaboration, co-chaired by Mr Han Kok Juan, Director-General of CAAS and Mr Onuma Toshiyuki, Senior Deputy Director-General of JCAB, the two authorities agreed to (i) facilitate the resumption of flights and city links; (ii) implement green aviation initiatives; (iii) foster a strong and positive safety culture and (iv) leverage technology to overcome manpower shortage and raise productivity.

The 2nd Singapore-Japan Dialogue on Aviation Collaboration was held on 24 July 2023 in Singapore. It follows the signing of a high-level strategic framework arrangement between CAAS and JCAB in December 2022, which was aimed at spurring collaboration between the two major aviation players of the Asia-Pacific region as they emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Facilitate Resumption of Flights and City Links

At the Dialogue, CAAS and JCAB concurred on the necessity to continue to facilitate the resumption of flights and city links to meet strong air travel demand between the two countries. Singapore and Japan will restore direct flights between Singapore and Okinawa from November 2023 ahead of the end-of-year holiday season. This is on top of the current five city links between Singapore and Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya, Fukuoka and Sapporo. As of July 2023, the number of weekly flights between Singapore and Japan has recovered to over 65% of pre-COVID levels, with 122 weekly passenger services operated by six air carriers, up from 50% in December 2022.

Implement Green Aviation Initiatives

CAAS and JCAB also updated each other on their policies and plans to promote sustainable aviation. The two authorities shared the view that the concept of an Aviation Green Lane can consist of three elements, namely airline operations, airport processes and ATM. They agreed to work together to materialise the Green Lane which can provide a template for wider adoption, taking into consideration discussions with other third-party States, and to propose the concept for discussion at appropriate international platforms soon.

On ATM, both authorities also agreed to jointly implement green ATM for all flights between Singapore and Tokyo. The two authorities will jointly implement green ATM measures, namely, to facilitate continuous climb and descent operations, and optimal cruising flight level assignment, which will save fuel, cut carbon emissions, and reduce flight times. This follows a successful one-month trial in June 2023 whereby CAAS and JCAB implemented green ATM for one daily passenger service. CAAS and JCAB will also work together to expand the multi-regional trajectory-based operations (TBO) project to more air navigation service providers (ANSPs). Last month, the ANSPs of Singapore, Japan, Thailand, the United States and Boeing had successfully concluded the world’s first-ever multi-regional TBO demonstration flight. This was part of a three-year collaboration programme to advance TBO and bring about significant benefits for all airspace users, including greater flight efficiencies and reductions in carbon emissions.

On sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), there is a common understanding that SAF is the key element to achieve aviation carbon neutrality, but both authorities agreed that SAF would have to be sufficient in supply and priced competitively in the Asia Pacific region. JCAB shared their policy considerations for introducing a target replacing 10% of fuel consumed by Japanese airlines with SAF by 2030, while CAAS highlighted medium and long-term plans for SAF initiatives as part of the development of the Sustainable Air Hub blueprint for Singapore.

Foster a strong and positive safety culture

CAAS and JCAB also understood the importance of fostering a strong and positive safety culture amongst aviation companies and workers in ensuring aviation safety as their respective aviation sectors ramp up operations to meet demand post-COVID. The two authorities agreed to facilitate exchanges between the two aviation sectors to share best practices. CAAS will be leading a tripartite Singapore delegation comprising government, union and company senior representatives to Japan to learn from their Japanese counterparts. These learnings will complement the findings from the first longitudinal safety culture survey that CAAS recently commissioned for the Singapore aviation sector.1 The survey findings will be released later in September 2023.

The Singapore Aviation Sector Safety Culture Survey is the first aviation sector-wide longitudinal safety culture survey in Singapore. The comprehensive and wide-ranging survey targeted aviation personnel in operational, safety-related, training and management roles from some 400 aviation companies, including airlines, the aerodrome operator, ground handlers, maintenance organisations, design and production organisations, training organisations, freight forwarders and unions. 

Leverage Technology to Overcome Manpower Shortage and Raise Productivity

CAAS and JCAB also recognised the importance of leveraging technology to overcome manpower shortages, raise productivity and address the challenges of an ageing aviation workforce which include incorporating worker friendly and ergonomic solutions. As part of the 2nd Dialogue, CAAS and the Changi Airport Group hosted the Japanese delegation to a demonstration of the autonomous vehicle trials at Changi Airport on 25 July 2023.

Mr Han Kok Juan, Director-General of the CAAS said, “Since the signing of the landmark strategic framework agreement in December 2022, CAAS and JCAB have made good progress in advancing civil aviation collaboration in the last seven months. This is testament to the strong economic and people-to-people ties between our two countries and our shared interest to expand air links and make flying safer and more sustainable. Our collaboration on green ATM is particularly significant. It establishes tangible measures that can be immediately implemented and translate to immediate fuel and carbon emission savings. These measures can be scaled up to cover more flights and serve as a pathfinder for wider adoption by more countries. With the successful conclusion of the green ATM trial and the extension of green ATM measures to all flights between Singapore and Tokyo, Singapore and Japan show that green ATM can complement sustainable aviation fuel as a key feature of an aviation green lane.”

Mr Onuma Toshiyuki, Senior Deputy Director-General of JCAB said, “It reflects Japan-Singapore cooperative and strong ties to make tangible progresses in various items since the first meeting last December, recognizing stable recovery of the traffic between two countries. In particular, it was quite a significant progress that JCAB and CAAS further explored and deepened concept of Green Lane through this meeting. We hope that this concept be well materialized at appropriate international platforms soon and further be implemented not only between Japan and Singapore but also involving other likeminded countries in the near future.”