MOT and CAAS to study the recommendations and chart the way forward to decarbonise the Singapore aviation sector

The International Advisory Panel (IAP) on Sustainable Air Hub has submitted its report to the Minister for Transport and Minister-in-charge of Trade Relations, Mr S Iswaran. The report details 15 key initiatives across three key aviation domains of airport, airline and air traffic management that Singapore could embark on as tangible pathways to decarbonise the aviation sector.

International Advisory Panel on Sustainable Air Hub

1 - The IAP was formed in February 2022, bringing together 20 industry, technology, and knowledge partners from Singapore and around the world to discuss how international aviation can be made more sustainable and accessible for all, and how Singapore can contribute to this international effort. The IAP is chaired by Professor Chong Tow Chong, President of Singapore University of Technology and Design. Members of the IAP include Directors-Generals from key aviation International Organisations, as well as C-suite executives from major aviation industry and renowned knowledge and technology partners. 

2 - Over the past six months, the IAP convened four meetings, conducted in physical and virtual settings, to exchange views on the vision and strategies to chart the way forward for the Singapore air hub. To canvass ideas from a wider array of stakeholders, IAP members moderated six deep dive sessions for three aviation domains, namely airport, airline and air traffic management. These sessions, which involved more than 120 representatives from 40 local and international partners, generated valuable ideas and provided useful insights to the IAP recommendations. 

Key Recommendations by the IAP

3 - Singapore is an international business, aviation and aerospace hub and has strong partnerships with international bodies, countries and private companies. Given this, the IAP believes that Singapore is well-positioned to play an important role as a pathfinder and convenor for the cross-sectoral collaboration and public-private partnership needed to reconfigure the aviation ecosystem to support sustainable operations and make it a commercially viable reality. As an active member of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and the international civil aviation community, Singapore can also exercise thought leadership and work with other countries and international organisations to drive and support climate actions globally and regionally.

4 - The 15 initiatives proposed by the IAP are action-oriented and industry-driven projects that Singapore can consider and implement.

(a) Airport Domain. The IAP has recommended six initiatives that will contribute to improving sustainability at Changi Airport by switching to renewable energy and improving energy and resource efficiency. These include solar panel deployment on the airfield, transiting airside vehicles towards cleaner energy sources and exploring the potential for an onsite waste-to-energy facility to enhance resource circularity.

(b) Airline Domain. The IAP has recommended five initiatives focussing on improving sustainability of airlines operating to, from and through Singapore. This includes investing in Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) comprising the setting up an entire ecosystem to make SAF viable. On the supply side, this includes identifying and sourcing for feedstock within the region. On the demand side, it will include setting-up a “Singapore / ASEAN Corporate Buyers’ Club” as well as designing and introducing an offtake mechanism to create SAF demand signals.

(c) Air Traffic Management Domain. The IAP has recommended four short- and medium-term initiatives to optimise air traffic management procedures and advance new concept of operations in collaboration with regional partners and stakeholders. These would increase efficiency and reduce fuel burn and emissions, resulting in improved environmental performance and fuel savings. Recommendations include building on existing efforts to improve the coordination and management of longer haul flights and implementing direct route operations for arrivals in Singapore on specific route segments, which would enable aircraft to fly more optimal and efficient routes.

5 - The IAP has also recommended the development of four critical enablers – policy and regulation, industry development, infrastructure planning and provision and workforce transformation. These enablers will undergird the 15 initiatives and provide the right conditions for the effective implementation of these initiatives. 

6 - Singapore’s Minister for Transport and Minister-in-charge of Trade Relations, Mr S Iswaran, said, “I would like to thank the International Advisory Panel on Sustainable Air Hub for their views and contributions which culminated in the report. I am glad that the Panel was able to canvass ideas through the active participation of various stakeholders, and converge on a set of 15 initiatives that could help develop Singapore as a sustainable air hub. The Singapore aviation sector will play our part and contribute to the decarbonisation of global aviation. We will study these recommendations and incorporate them into the development of our Sustainable Air Hub Blueprint.”

7 - Professor Chong Tow Chong, said, “I am pleased to provide our key recommendations on Developing a Sustainable Air Hub in Singapore. The report captures the discoveries from and outcomes of our fruitful and insightful discussions. I would like to thank all IAP members and participants for their invaluable contributions in helping to chart the way forward for the Singapore air hub. I hope that this report can serve as a useful guide for Singapore in developing its Sustainable Air Hub Blueprint, as well as other stakeholders and international parties pursuing sustainable aviation.”

Singapore Sustainable Air Hub Blueprint

8 - CAAS will publish the Sustainable Air Hub Blueprint in 2023, incorporating the recommendations from the IAP. The Blueprint will provide a decarbonisation roadmap for the Singapore air hub, with medium-term 2030 and longer-term 2050 targets and tangible pathways for achieving them. This will be a significant initiative which will help provide thought leadership and further catalyse investments, actions and collaborations with private sector companies and other countries.