Singapore devoting US$26 million to beef up Changi
Authorities in Singapore announced on 1 July they would spend upwards of US$26 million to beef up productivity at the city-state’s Changi airport to provide a new communications system and provide more self-service processes for passengers to “reduce reliance on manpower”.
The Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) said it would spend S$20 million (US$14.8 million) to roll out its Smart Apron initiative that would include an airport-wide Wi-Fi network covering 190 hectares – larger than Singapore’s iconic Gardens by the Bay – that will cover all aircraft stands at Terminals 1 to 4 as well as remote and cargo aircraft stands.
CAAS said the plan includes deploying more mobile devices to 3,500 staff members from the 1,000 currently to enable access to real-time data.
CAAS also said it would spend S$15 million (US$11 million) on its Fast and Seamless Travel (FAST) Fund over the next four years to push for wider adoption of self-service passenger processes at Changi Airport.
The fund will award grants to airlines to offset costs involved in implementing self-service initiatives such as check-in kiosks, bag-drop systems, and self-boarding gates.
CAAS said about 2,000 passenger service agents will “benefit from job redesign efforts” from the self-service drive, which is usually a euphemism that could mean anything from layoffs to reassignments for those agents and is also a sort of code meaning passengers will have to do more of their own work to make it through the boarding process.
“As we face an increasingly challenging aviation landscape, CAAS is committed to driving greater airport innovation and operational efficiency. This will ensure continual delivery of high service standards at Changi and help uphold its hub competitiveness,” said Kevin Shum, director-general of CAAS.
Jumping on the “efficiency” bandwagon was the CEO of Changi Airport Group (CAG), Lee Seow Hiang, who said in a statement that CAG’s participation in the programmes “will augment CAG’s ongoing efforts at enhancing operational efficiencies and passenger convenience at Changi Airport…This will realise greater efficiencies in existing areas such as aircraft servicing while enabling new capabilities like location tracking and video streaming”.