Singapore Takes Key Step Forward to Develop Sustainable Air Hub

CAAS to develop Singapore Sustainable Air Hub Blueprint
Set up 20-member International Advisory Panel on Sustainable Air Hub

             Sustainability will be a key priority for Singapore’s aviation sector in the coming years as it revives air travel and rebuilds the Singapore air hub. The Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) announced today that it is developing a Singapore Sustainable Air Hub Blueprint to guide Singapore’s effort. It has set up an International Advisory Panel (IAP) and will engage industry stakeholders to canvass ideas and develop practical pathways to make greener air travel viable and accessible for all. The Blueprint is expected to be ready in early 2023.

Singapore Sustainable Air Hub Blueprint

2.         The Ministry of Transport and CAAS have made a start to put in place building blocks for a sustainable air hub.

a)    Singapore is today one of 107 states voluntarily participating in the pilot phase of the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA) under the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to meet a global aspirational target of carbon-neutral growth from 2020. Besides fulfilling its own commitment, Singapore is also providing capacity building support to other countries to help them in their implementation of CORSIA.

b)    Singapore is a member of the World Economic Forum (WEF) Clean Skies for Tomorrow Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) Ambassadors Group. It has worked with other participating countries to develop a policy toolkit for SAF which was unveiled on the side-lines of the 26th Conference of Parties (COP26) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The toolkit provides a menu of options to help policymakers around the world grow a sustainable SAF supply, stimulate SAF demand and enable a healthy SAF eco-system.

c)     The CAAS is working with Changi Airport Group and key industry players like Singapore Airlines (SIA) and SATS on various initiatives to decarbonise the sector. These include the installation of solar panels, electrification of ground fleet, implementation of energy-efficient systems and the use of more renewable energy at the Singapore Changi Airport.

d)    The CAAS is conducting pilots and technical studies on the use of SAF and hydrogen. The CAAS and SIA announced last week that for a one-year period starting from the third quarter of this year, all SIA and Scoot flights out of Changi Airport will use a blend of refined jet fuel and neat SAF. This is expected to reduce about 2,500 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions over the one-year period. The CAAS has also announced earlier that it is working with Airbus on a technical study on an airport hydrogen hub.

e)    As the Air Navigation Service Provider for the Singapore Flight Information Region, the CAAS is tapping on new technologies and international collaboration to enhance air traffic management efficiency, thus reducing airborne time and fuel use.

3.         Building on these efforts, the development and publication of the Singapore Sustainable Air Hub Blueprint will be one big step forward for Singapore aviation’s sustainability effort. The Blueprint will set medium-term (2030) and longer-term (2050) sustainability goals and identify practical, tangible pathways to achieve them. It will focus on the three key areas of airport, airline, and air traffic management, bringing together the various stakeholders. The Blueprint will also lay the foundation of four critical enablers that are needed to support and drive sector-wide decarbonisation efforts, namely policy and regulation, industry development, infrastructure planning and provision and jobs and skills.

International Advisory Panel

4.         To support the development of the Singapore Sustainable Air Hub Blueprint, the CAAS has set up an IAP on Sustainable Air Hub. The IAP brings together 20 industry, technology, and knowledge leaders 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. The list of members is at Annex A and its terms of reference are at Annex B.  

5.         The IAP held its inaugural full-day meeting on 14 February 2022 on the sidelines of the Singapore Airshow. The meeting started with a roundtable discussion with Singapore’s Minister for Transport and Minister-in-charge of Trade Relations, Mr S Iswaran.

6.         At its first meeting, the IAP discussed sustainability issues in the key domains of airport, airline, and air traffic management. The panel delved into how sustainability could be driven within each domain, including how States, corporates and individuals could contribute. The panel agreed on the need to identify projects and pilots for Singapore and the region. It decided to set up three sub-committees to study into these three domains and to do deep-dive workshops. Through these workshops, the IAP hopes to reach out to and involve a wider array of interested stakeholders to canvass ideas and foster cross-sectoral innovation and collaboration. Those interested in participating in these deep-dive workshops can contact the IAP Secretariat at IAP_Secretariat@caas.gov.sg. The IAP plans to submit its report and recommendations by July 2022.  

7.         Singapore’s Minister for Transport and Minister-in-charge of Trade Relations, Mr S Iswaran, who graced the opening of the IAP’s inaugural meeting, said, “While the immediate focus of the Singapore air hub is to revive air travel, we cannot lose sight of the longer-term challenge of climate change. Sustainability is a national priority for Singapore. And the Singapore Sustainable Air Hub Blueprint will articulate how Singapore can contribute to the decarbonisation of international aviation as well as our national sustainability efforts. This is a challenging endeavour especially at a time when aviation companies are still dealing with the effects of the pandemic. It will require strong public-private partnership and cross-sectoral collaboration to innovate and reinvent the aviation eco-system.”

8.         Mr Han Kok Juan, Director-General, CAAS, said, “There is consensus amongst governments and industry stakeholders around the world that as the aviation sector recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic, it cannot be a return to business as usual but that the international aviation system we rebuild must be more sustainable; the question is not one of whether but of when and how. Through the Singapore Sustainable Air Hub Blueprint, the CAAS seeks to be a pathfinder. The Blueprint will be bold, in setting not just longer-term 2050 targets but also more immediate 2030 ones, to focus minds and get work started now. It will at the same time be realistic and practical; whatever targets set will be backed by achievable pathways which government and private sector companies can commit to. We will engage widely to canvass ideas and foster collaboration.”  

9.         Professor Chong Tow Chong, Chairman of IAP and President of Singapore University of Technology and Design, said, “As an international business, aviation and aerospace hub, Singapore can serve as a convenor to bring together stakeholders from around the world to tackle a global existential problem which affect us all. I am deeply honoured to chair this important IAP and to work with such a distinguished panel. I hope that the IAP’s recommendations would provide useful reference for Singapore and other aviation partners around the world.”

Last Updated on 31 January 2023