Singapore scores top marks in global aviation safety audit

Singapore received full marks in seven of eight areas, including legislation, licensing and training of aviation personnel, as well as the airworthiness of aircraft. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Aviation safety standards in Singapore have been kept at a high level at a time which saw the Covid-19 pandemic wreak havoc on air travel, checks by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) showed.

The Republic received full marks in seven of eight areas, including legislation, licensing and training of aviation personnel, as well as the airworthiness of aircraft.

The only area that Singapore did not score 100 per cent in was air navigation services, with ICAO, a specialised agency of the United Nations, giving it a score of 98.1 per cent.

Overall, Singapore received an effective implementation score of 99.7 per cent in the audit conducted in April - the highest score to date among the 193 ICAO member states.

In comparison, the global average score under ICAO's Universal Safety Oversight Audit Programme (USOAP) is currently 67.5 per cent.

The audit was conducted during a period which saw experts raise concerns over aircraft maintenance and aircrew competency issues, with both having been grounded for prolonged periods due to the pandemic.

The Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) said on Friday that Singapore also did well in a separate assessment, which was conducted in April as well.

The ICAO State Safety Programmes Implementation Assessment, which is in its second phase, looks at the maturity of state aviation safety programmes and their ability to proactively identify and manage safety risks.

CAAS said Singapore is the first ICAO member state to undergo phase two of the assessment, where such evaluations are mandatory and not kept confidential.

In a statement, CAAS director-general Han Kok Juan said the ICAO safety audit and safety assessment are timely health checks for Singapore, and affirm efforts to rise above safety-related challenges brought about by Covid-19.

"The good result notwithstanding, we will not take safety for granted... The Singapore aviation sector must continue to prioritise and keep a close eye on safety as we ramp up manpower and operations for the year-end peak," said Mr Han.

The last time ICAO audited Singapore was in 2010, when it received an effective implementation score of 98.6 per cent.

Amid the pandemic, the Republic has rolled out a number of initiatives focusing on aviation safety.

In March, it launched its first ever safety charter for the aviation sector, which called on signatories to make safety a priority and encourage voluntary reporting of safety hazards and errors, among other things.

The charter has since been signed by 100 key organisations in the sector.

In April, CAAS released its first ever National Aviation Safety Plan, which lists 50 actions that the aviation industry here will take over the next three years to address safety risks.

Some examples include reviewing the induction training given to new flight crew and improving the safety of runways at Changi and Seletar airports.

Air travel has progressively returned to some level of normality. In June, passenger traffic at Changi hit 50 per cent of pre-pandemic levels, and is now averaging 58 per cent of 2019 volumes.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.