$150 million for aviation industry to boost productivity, cope with costs: Lui Tuck Yew

The aviation industry will get two help schemes worth $150 million in total to boost productivity and cope with costs, to help it stay competitive, announced Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew on Friday night, July 18, 2014. -- ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI
The aviation industry will get two help schemes worth $150 million in total to boost productivity and cope with costs, to help it stay competitive, announced Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew on Friday night, July 18, 2014. -- ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

SINGAPORE - The aviation industry will get two help schemes worth $150 million in total to boost productivity and cope with costs, to help it stay competitive, announced Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew on Friday night.

The national aviation authority, the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS), will roll out a $100 million Airport Productivity Package over the next four years, and absorb $50 million of air navigation services charges in the next two financial years.

The productivity package includes $20 million in funds to help the industry adopt new airport equipment, and about $17 million for two competition-based programmes to find ways to keep Singapore's aviation industry sustainable.

This is part of a national and industry drive to "promote productivity more aggressively", said Mr Lui at the aviation community's annual reception, held at Chijmes Hall.

He began his speech by expressing his condolences to the families and loved ones of the victims of the Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash on Thursday, calling it a "tragedy beyond understanding".

"This is also an extremely difficult time for our friends in the Ministry of Transport in Malaysia; Singapore is ready to offer any assistance and support that we can provide," he said.

He later said that the air navigation service charges to be absorbed are now being paid by the Changi Airport Group (CAG), which will pass these savings on to airlines.

The CAG last month announced a separate $100 million Growth and Assistance Incentive programme to help the airport community with their costs.

Mr Lui also provided an update of the $100 million Aviation Development Fund (ADF), which was set up in 2010 by the CAAS to help the aviation industry grow further and stay globally competitive.

So far, a total of $30 million has been committed to programmes such as new repair schemes and Coolport@Changi, a storage facility to store products such as drugs, fresh-cut flowers and refrigerated food.

Enhancements to the ADF will be announced by early 2015, Mr Lui added.