S'pore to host over 300 leaders at first Changi Aviation Summit

This will be one of the first key aviation events held in the region since the Covid-19 pandemic started. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Singapore will host more than 300 global aviation leaders, policymakers and senior executives from more than 45 countries at a two-day summit that begins on Tuesday (May 17).

The inaugural Changi Aviation Summit will be one of the first key aviation events held in the region since the Covid-19 pandemic started, said the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) in a statement on Sunday.

It comes as the global aviation sector is recovering from the pandemic, which had decimated air travel. Countries, including Singapore, are easing border restrictions and restoring air links.

Jointly organised by CAAS and the Ministry of Transport (MOT), the event will be held at the Sands Expo and Convention Centre. Participants include transport ministers and senior executives of civil aviation authorities, international organisations, airports, airlines, aircraft manufacturers and air navigation service providers.

MOT deputy secretary Kevin Shum, who chairs the event's organising committee, said the summit provides a "timely platform" for global aviation leaders to come together and commit to reviving international civil aviation operations in a safe, sustainable and inclusive manner.

The last major aviation event that Singapore hosted prior to this forum was the Singapore Airshow in February, which had fewer visitors and exhibitors than past editions due to Covid-19 restrictions.

The Republic had opened its borders to fully vaccinated travellers on April 1, in a move to restore the Changi air hub.

Travellers no longer needed to take only designated flights to enter Singapore quarantine-free, or a Covid-19 antigen rapid test within 24 hours of arrival.

Quotas were also lifted on the number of daily arrivals, and entry approvals were no longer needed for all vaccinated travellers. The requirement for pre-entry Covid-19 tests was removed from April 26.

The reopening of borders, coupled with the Good Friday long weekend, saw Changi Airport's passenger traffic more than double from March to April, nearing 40 per cent of pre-pandemic levels.

During the summit, aviation leaders will issue a joint communique to reaffirm the civil aviation industry's commitment to revive international operations in a sustainable and inclusive manner, said CAAS.

Singapore will also ink agreements to support global human capital development and promote aviation safety standards in the Asia-Pacific.

There will be panel discussions with public and private sector speakers on issues such as reviving aviation, sustainability and innovation.

Singapore Airlines chief executive Goh Choon Phong said there is a strong demand for air travel as border restrictions ease.

The summit provides an opportunity to "take stock of where we are and what comes next", he added.

"This includes discussions around the importance of collaboration, sustainable growth and digital transformation as the industry recovers and responds to future challenges."

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