Singapore aims to capture areas in aviation industry that will grow in 5 to 10 years

The aviation sector has received at least $870 million in support to help it maintain Singapore's position as an aviation hub and retain its employees. ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

SINGAPORE - Certain growth areas have been identified within the aviation industry, and the Government is trying to make sure the country captures these, Manpower Minister Tan See Leng said in Parliament on Tuesday (July 27).

He said he could not divulge what these growth areas are for now, but they were expected to recover strongly in the next five to 10 years, and had been identified by the Emerging Stronger Task Force, together with the Economic Development Board and various other agencies.

More details should emerge in the coming weeks, he said.

His comments come as forecasts for the aviation industry's recovery remain grim, with the lifting of border restrictions slow and more transmissible strains of Covid-19 wreaking havoc on travel plans.

Mr Desmond Choo (Tampines GRC) had asked if there could be a permanent reduction in manpower requirements within the aviation and tourism-related sectors. This was not answered directly.

"What we are trying to do is to ensure that as we come out of this particular pandemic in this crisis, we want to be able to anchor our skill sets in that particular (growth) area," Dr Tan said.

"Given our hub status, given our credibility and also the strength of our workforce, we think that it's one area that we can continue to anchor on."

In the interim, many in the hardest-hit industries, including the hospitality sector, will have to find other jobs and learn new skills. Students of courses related to aviation, aerospace and hospitality who have graduated recently are also likely to face an uncertain future.

Dr Tan hoped firms still able to expand local hiring would tap the Jobs Growth Incentive, which provides up to $54,000 per hire, before it expires in September. "I believe that will put a lot of our fellow citizens and the companies themselves in good shape."

He further noted that institutions of higher learning are also expanding their courses to ensure that graduates are equipped for jobs in growth sectors like healthcare, finance and infocomm.

The aviation sector has received at least $870 million in the form of the OneAviation Support Package since February to help it maintain Singapore's position as an aviation hub and retain its employees.

SingapoRediscovers Vouchers worth $320 million have also been given out to boost local tourism.

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