Singapore to extend aid to aviation companies

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Singapore announced it will restart construction on its Terminal 5 complex within two to three years. (PHOTO: Shutterstock)

The Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) announced Monday (27 September) that it would extend its Aviation Workforce Retention Grant (AWRG) programme for another six months to help aviation companies preserve core capabilities and position for recovery.

Because Singapore Airlines has no domestic network, its Changi Airport base is still almost a ghost town in 2021. A lone student waits to say goodbye to a friend in a nearly deserted departure hall. (PHOTO: Matt Driskill)

The authority said eligible companies will receive 30 percent support of the first S$4,600 of gross monthly wages paid to each local employee from October to December 2021 and 10 percent support of the first S$4,600 of gross monthly wages paid to each local employee from January to March 2022. The grant is expected to benefit more than 100 companies in the aviation sector and will cost the government about S$130 million.

COVID-19 has decimated air travel. After 20 months, the aviation sector remains among the hardest-hit of all economic sectors. As of September 2021, total passenger traffic movements at Changi Airport are at 3.6 percent of pre-COVID levels. Aviation companies have reduced their manpower to adjust to the decreased air travel activity.

Airlines like Singapore Air have had to ground thousands of planes due to the COVID-19 pandemic and near shutdown of international aviation. (PHOTO: Steve Strike/Outback Photographics)

Han Kok Juan, director-general of CAAS, said: “The aviation sector is seeing some green shoots of growth with the successful launch of the Vaccinated Travel Lane to Germany and Brunei and plans to extend it to other countries and regions. The extension of the Aviation Workforce Retention Grant will help aviation companies tide over this difficult time and retain and rebuild core capabilities to position for recovery.”

The AWRG was introduced in Budget 2021 as part of the OneAviation Support Package to provide targeted support for the aviation sector and safeguard Singapore’s position as an aviation hub.

In addition to wage support, companies in the aviation sector will continue to receive training support through the Enhanced Training Support Package, and cost relief as part of the OneAviation Support Package. Workers can also make use of the Singapore OneAviation Reskilling grant to undergo competency and reskilling training and enhance productivity.

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