Aviation sector cannot be complacent: President

President Halimah Yacob viewing sculptures in the departure transit area during her visit to Changi Airport's Terminal 4 yesterday. She also viewed some of the technology being used to boost efficiency and security.
President Halimah Yacob viewing sculptures in the departure transit area during her visit to Changi Airport's Terminal 4 yesterday. She also viewed some of the technology being used to boost efficiency and security.ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

Singapore's aviation sector must continue to improve to capture the growing number of air travellers, said President Halimah Yacob.

"Even as we are improving in Singapore, other countries are also improving, so we cannot be complacent," she said after touring Changi Airport's Terminal 4 yesterday, ahead of its opening at the end of next month.

The new terminal can handle up to 16 million passengers a year. With its opening, the total handling capacity of Changi Airport will increase to 82 million passengers annually.

Last year, the International Air Transport Association predicted that more than half of the 7.2 billion expected travellers over the next 18 years would be from the Asia-Pacific.

Though Singapore should aim to capture a portion of that market as the Republic's aviation sector expands - Terminal 5, expected to be completed in the late 2020s, will be able to handle 50 million passengers per year - it cannot afford to rest on its laurels, she said.

Airport a 'national icon and strategic asset'

During her visit, President Halimah was shown some of the features of the new terminal, such as the Peranakan-themed heritage zone and a 70m-by-5m LED wall with an animated showcase of Singapore's skyline and Asean landmarks.

She also viewed some of the technology being employed to help enhance both the efficiency and security of Terminal 4. These include a facial recognition system and centralised security screening, as well as the terminal's self-service check-in options.

During the visit, the President also visited the ramp tower, where she was briefed on the long-term expansion plans for Changi Airport.

Describing the airport as a "national icon and a strategic asset of Singapore", Madam Halimah said such use of technology would enhance productivity and free up workers to further develop their skills to do more meaningful work.

"The aviation sector will also remain a key economic and job-creation engine for Singapore," she said in a Facebook post.

"I am glad that Changi Airport is investing ahead of time for Singapore to remain a key international aviation hub."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 27, 2017, with the headline 'Aviation sector cannot be complacent: President'. Print Edition | Subscribe