Aviation industry must raise productivity to soar above challenging prospects: Josephine Teo

Total passenger traffic at Changi Airport grew by just 0.7 per cent last year and growth is expected to remain modest this year but the labour market remains tight and cost pressures are unlikely to go away, said Senior Minister of State for Transpor
Total passenger traffic at Changi Airport grew by just 0.7 per cent last year and growth is expected to remain modest this year but the labour market remains tight and cost pressures are unlikely to go away, said Senior Minister of State for Transport Josephine Teo on Wednesday. -- PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

SINGAPORE - Total passenger traffic at Changi Airport grew by just 0.7 per cent last year and growth is expected to remain modest this year but the labour market remains tight and cost pressures are unlikely to go away, said Senior Minister of State for Transport Josephine Teo on Wednesday.

It is therefore important for the industry to continue to raise productivity and to help businesses make the transition to innovation-driven growth, she said at an aviation productivity conference held by the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore.

She said: "Many companies have shared that technology adoption is an important aspect in raising their productivity, but have cited the high investment costs as a key barrier. Apart from technology adoption, companies have also shared that they face challenges in shifting existing mindsets, and building a culture of continuous improvement among both management and the workforce."

The conference is therefore timely. She added: "There is real value in sharing the pains and pleasures of our productivity journey, to celebrate the companies and individuals that have embarked on productivity efforts and have achieved substantial progress, and to acknowledge mis-steps so as to shorten our collective learning curve."

Rolls-Royce, Sats, SIA Engineering and Changi Airport Group are among the firms that participated in the event.

On its part, the Government will continue to support the drive, for example by investing even more in training and education to raise the industry's skill level , Mrs Teo said, citing Monday's Budget speech which announced that $1 billion a year will be set aside from now until 2020 to support lifelong learning and the continuous acquisition of relevant skills under the SkillsFuture initiative.

She added: "I believe that as the Government and aviation community continue to collaborate and support one another, we will be able to overcome the challenges that we face and ensure that Singapore remains as one of the leading air hubs in the region."

karam@sph.com.sg