Champagne toast between CAAS and Airbus Helicopters to celebrate the signing of the MOU.
It has been a busy start to 2016. At the recent Singapore Airshow 2016, CAAS signed a total of seven agreements. From helping the industry reduce regulatory compliance costs to exploring innovative ways to tap on the potential of Unmanned Aircraft Systems, to advancing Air Traffic Management (ATM) research and development, CAAS has been pushing for greater collaboration with the industry in a variety of areas to support aviation growth, enhance Singapore air hub’s connectivity and aviation safety while embracing emerging technologies.
Here’s a quick summary of the agreements that were signed between CAAS and its partners, in the first three months of 2016:
Enhancing air hub connectivity
Singapore concluded two Open Skies Agreements (OSAs) with the Solomon Islands and Burundi. Under each Agreement, the airlines of Singapore and the respective countries will be able to fly any number of services between both countries with no restrictions on capacity or aircraft type, as well as beyond to any third country. In addition, cargo carriers will be able to base aircraft in each other's countries and use it as a hub for operations to third countries.
The agreements reaffirm Singapore’s commitment to a liberal air services policy. Singapore has thus far concluded Air Services Agreements with more than 130 States and Territories, of which over 60 are Open Skies Agreements.
Mr Khaw Boon Wan, Singapore's Coordinating Minister for Infrastructure and Minister for Transport said: “The conclusion of these OSAs reflects the warm bilateral ties between Singapore and the two countries respectively. With such a fully liberal air services framework, it allows carriers maximum flexibility to respond to market opportunities.”
Reducing regulatory burdens and compliance costs
CAAS and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) signed a milestone Maintenance Implementation Procedures (MIP) agreement. This is the second agreement under the wider ambit of the US-Singapore Bilateral Safety Agreement (BASA) signed in 2004.
The MIP will eliminate duplication of inspections and audits on aircraft maintenance organisations in Singapore and the USA, thereby reducing regulatory burdens and compliance costs for the aviation industry. This will bring about significant time and cost savings, as well as deepen expertise of personnel with the mutual cooperation and technical assistance provided by both parties.
Goodrich Aerostructures Service Centre-Asia (GASCA), a local maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) organisation, affirmed the benefits the agreement will bring to the industry. “This agreement will bring about significant benefits to our MRO business environment in terms of the cost reduction, and it will help to speed up the process for extensions to capabilities and changes affecting the approval,” said Mr Cheam Hing Gee, General Manager of GASCA.”
Enhancing surveillance in the Singapore Flight Information Region
CAAS and Aireon LLC inked a deal to provide space-based Automatic Dependent Surveillance – Broadcast (ADS-B) data for the Singapore Flight Information Region (FIR). The agreement includes a 12-year subscription to Aireon’s space-based ADS-B service, which will be operational in 2018.
With this agreement, Singapore will be the first to adopt the use of space-based ADS-B service in the Asia Pacific region. Over the next two years, CAAS will be setting up the necessary infrastructure to integrate the service with Air Traffic Control systems. The space-based ADS-B will provide continuous tracking of ADS-B equipped aircraft in the Singapore FIR, supplementing existing surveillance sensors and improving air traffic controllers’ situational awareness. This move will significantly enhance surveillance in the Singapore Flight Information Region (FIR).
Advancing Air Traffic Management Research and Development
As part of its efforts to develop Singapore as a Centre of Excellence (CoE) for Air Traffic Management (ATM), CAAS has signed an agreement with the Institute for Infocomm Research (I2R) to establish a joint laboratory to advance air traffic management research and development (R&D). I2R’s expertise in data analytics, information technology, communication networks, interactive and digital media, and signal processing and computing will add breadth and depth to the research capabilities of the CoE for ATM.
Research to be conducted at the joint lab include automatic speech recognition technology to facilitate ATM operations, data analytics for ATM performance measurement and improvements, and the development of advanced visualisation technologies to facilitate the use of remotely operated airport control towers.
Mr Kevin Shum, Director-General of CAAS, said: “The CAAS-I2R joint laboratory will be the third facility dedicated to ATM R&D established in Singapore. It will further boost our efforts to develop a vibrant ecosystem for ATM in Singapore. This will enable us to better prepare for the continued growth of aviation in this part of the world.”
Under the CoE for ATM initiative, CAAS has established the ATM Research Institute (ATMRI) with the Nanyang Technological University and the MITRE Asia Pacific Singapore (MAPS) with The MITRE Corporation in 2015. CAAS has also entered into several collaborative agreements with key ATM and research entities including Airbus ProSky, SESAR 2 Joint Undertaking and the United States Federal Aviation Administration.
In March, CAAS also signed a Memorandum of Cooperation (MoC) with the Civil Aviation Bureau of Japan (JCAB) to jointly promote air traffic management (ATM) transformation in the Asia Pacific.
The MoC will facilitate the sharing of information, knowledge and expertise between the two organisations. It will also enable collaboration in ATM modernisation efforts and in research activities to develop ATM concepts, solutions and technologies for the next generation of ATM systems. This is especially important in working towards achieving ATM modernization and a seamless airspace in the region.
Mr Shum commented: “This MoC is CAAS’ first with an air navigation services provider from the Asia Pacific region. With our combined experience and expertise in the region, I am confident we will be able to develop valuable ATM solutions for our countries and the Asia Pacific region.”
Embracing emerging technologies
CAAS and Airbus Helicopters (Airbus) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to conduct UAS Proof-of-Concept Trials, named the Skyways Project, in Singapore.
“We need to prepare for the greater use of unmanned aircraft in our urban environment to help address the new and future needs of our society. We want to facilitate their use by industry and the public sector, and also hobbyists, but we must at the same time ensure that the regulatory regime keeps apace with these changes to enable such uses, whilst ensuring public and aviation safety and security.” Said Mr Kevin Shum, Director-General, CAAS.
Mr Jean-Brice Dumont, Executive Vice-President of Engineering, Airbus added: “Our vision is the seamless integration of UAS into logistics networks and daily life in a safe, secure and economically efficient manner. Airbus strongly believes in the viability of the ‘Skyways’ project, which will help turn consumer services unimagined only a decade ago into a reality very soon.”
The Skyways Project is aimed at developing a solution that will address the sustainability and efficiency of parcel delivery in large urban environments (also known as “last mile” delivery). As part of the project, Airbus has begun planning a first trial with the National University of Singapore (NUS), which involves the establishment of a parcel stations network on NUS campus. Through this network, users will be able to send important and urgent items such as documents via an UAS to other parts of the campus. It will also serve as a supply and distribution interface for suppliers across Singapore to deliver their goods via UAS to customers across the NUS campus.
If this trial is successful, a second trial will cover delivery of goods such as urgent medicine, oil samples and spare electronic parts from a parcel station located at the Singapore coast to ships anchored at bay.
Reaffirming commitment to global aviation training
CAAS signed two new training Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) with the Agency for Air Navigation Safety in Africa and Madagascar (ASECNA) and the Central American Corporation for Air Navigation Services (COCESNA). Under the MOUs, CAAS, through its training arm – the Singapore Aviation Academy will deliver training programmes in the areas of air traffic management and aviation safety at the training units of ASECNA and COCESNA.
The training programmes will be based on international aviation requirements and industry best practices. This move reaffirms Singapore’s commitment to advance civil aviation internationally, in support of ICAO’s “No Country Left Behind” initiative.
Director-General of ASECNA, Mr Amadou Ousmane Guitteye said, “ASECNA is most grateful to CAAS for its commitment to aviation capacity-building on the African continent. The MOU between CAAS and ASECNA will have positive impact for both parties. For ASECNA, apart from satisfying our own needs, the MOU will help member States and even non-member States gain access to quality training at a lower cost than having to travel to Singapore for training.”
Echoing Mr Guitteye’s sentiments, Executive President of COCESNA, Mr Jorge Antonio Vargas Araya added: “For COCESNA, the signing of the MOU brings to our professional and technical staff the opportunity to develop capabilities and abilities in accordance with the best practices worldwide in the aviation sector, and also enables the Singapore Aviation Academy, through their training programmes, to take a regional approach towards fulfilling the needs and requirements of all ICAO Member States.”