$15m boost for Changi passenger services

Airlines get help with costs of rolling out self-service options to more travellers

More travellers will have access to self-service check-in, bag tagging and aircraft boarding at Changi Airport.

In an ongoing push for automation and to boost productivity, the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) announced yesterday that it will invest $15 million over the next four years to help airlines defray some of the costs of the initiative. Seven out of 10 travellers at Changi Airport already have access to self-service options.

Speaking at an annual networking event for the aviation community held at ITE College East, Senior Minister of State for Transport Josephine Teo said that as Changi Airport continues to grow, safety and security will be important focus areas.

To integrate safety management activities across all industry players, CAAS will develop a State Safety Programme. This is a new initiative led globally by the United Nations' International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).

The aim is to provide more holistic oversight of safety management carried out by the airport operator, air navigation service providers, airlines, and aircraft maintenance and repair firms.

Mrs Teo said: "I hope the aviation community will give your utmost support to CAAS for the State Safety Programme, so we can together weave a tighter safety net."

More details of the programme will be announced later.

On security, Mrs Teo said: "Even with the best of efforts, we will not be free from the scourge of terrorism, as Tuesday's attack at Istanbul's Ataturk airport and the attack at Brussels airport earlier this year grimly remind us."

Even before the Istanbul attack, travellers would have noticed an increased security presence and checks within Changi Airport, she said. "We expect to further strengthen security measures and will need the aviation community's understanding and full cooperation."

Security considerations will be woven into the design of new terminals. At Terminal 4 for example, self-service bag drop kiosks will be equipped with biometric features.

Ultimately, security is "a shared responsibility" and for Changi to remain safe, everyone must play his or her part, she stressed.

Besides investing $15 million in passenger services, CAAS and Changi Airport Group will spend more than $20 million over the next six years to equip the airside with Wi-Fi services. This will help ground handling staff, for example, work more efficiently and productively.

Correction note: An earlier version of the story stated that self-service check-in kiosks, instead of bag drop kiosks, will be equipped with biometric features. This has been corrected.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 02, 2016, with the headline '$15m boost for Changi passenger services'. Print Edition | Subscribe