Don't bulldoze all of historic Seletar Airport

I AM disappointed to learn that the quaint, old single-storey Seletar Airport passenger terminal and other structures will be demolished ("Seletar Airport set to get bigger and better"; June 9).

Seletar is no ordinary airport. Built in 1928, originally as a Royal Air Force base which was involved in the defence of our island during World War II, it is also Singapore's oldest civil airport still in operation. It predates and has long outlasted the better-known former Kallang Airport, which was Singapore's first purpose-built civil airport.

In 1937, Seletar Airport even played host to the famous aviator Amelia Earhart, when she made a stopover while on her round-the-world flight attempt.

Yet now, despite its illustrious history, the airport faces the wrecking ball. While plans to expand the airport, located in the midst of the Seletar Aerospace Park, are laudable, I fervently hope the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore and Urban Redevelopment Authority will work with the National Heritage Board, and not bulldoze the old passenger terminal and control tower into oblivion.

After all, relatively speaking, they do not really occupy that much space, and can be converted and used for other purposes, for instance, as an aviation-themed restaurant to serve air passengers and workers of the aerospace park, or as an aviation heritage and education centre.

It was reported that an exhibition on Singapore's aviation history and Changi Airport was launched recently in Orchard Road ("Gallery on S'pore aviation history opens downtown"; June 9).

I look forward to the day when both tourists and local aviation and heritage enthusiasts, as well as schoolchildren, can visit permanent displays at the old Seletar Airport to learn about the growth of Singapore into the modern international aviation hub that it is today.

There is much potential in the old buildings at Seletar. Let us not make the irrevocable mistake of taking one step forward with the recent saving of the former Jurong Town Hall, a much newer building by comparison ("Jurong Town Hall gazetted a national monument"; June 2), only to take two steps back by knocking down every brick of our oldest civil airport and war monument.

Edwin Pang