Blueprint on making Singapore's air hub more sustainable to be published in 2023

Goals will be set for 2030 and 2050, with details on how to get there, said the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - A blueprint will be ready by next year to pave the way for Singapore's aviation sector to cut emissions and put in place other green initiatives.

Goals will be set for 2030 and 2050, with details on how to get there, said the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) on Tuesday (Feb 15).

CAAS director-general Han Kok Juan said: "There is consensus among governments and industry stakeholders around the world that as the aviation sector recovers from the Covid-19 pandemic, it cannot be a return to business as usual.

"The international aviation system we rebuild must be more sustainable - the question is not one of whether but of when and how."

He said the targets set in the Singapore Sustainable Air Hub Blueprint will be backed by achievable pathways that both the Government and the private sector can commit to.

An international advisory panel, which has been set up to drive the development and publication of the blueprint, held its first full-day meeting on Monday on the sidelines of the Singapore Airshow at the Changi Exhibition Centre.

The panel agreed to set up three sub-committees to study sustainability in the airport, airline and traffic management, and to do deep-dive workshops, said CAAS.

Chaired by Professor Chong Tow Chong, the president of the Singapore University of Technology and Design, the panel also agreed on the need to identify projects and pilots for Singapore and the region.

The panel comprises 19 other members, including top executives from CAAS, international organisations, major aerospace firms and research institutes.

Changi Airport Group (CAG) chief executive Lee Seow Hiang and Singapore Airlines Group CEO Goh Choon Phong are on the panel as well.

Under plans submitted to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in 2020, Singapore aims to peak emissions by around 2030, and halve emissions from its peak by 2050.

Transport Minister S. Iswaran told reporters at the Singapore Airshow that the issue of sustainability is an urgent priority for the global aviation industry.

Noting that global aviation contributed to about 2 per cent of global emissions before the pandemic began, Mr Iswaran said: "Once aviation resumes the trajectory it was on before the pandemic, then you must expect that emissions will continue to rise, unless we do something about it."

He said that it was difficult to give an accurate estimate of the investment needed to drive plans to make aviation sustainable. But the upcoming blueprint will also look into the issue of financing the drive towards sustainable aviation.

"There is a lot of effort around green financing, and we want to see how we can unlock some of that for the purposes of aviation and in innovation in this space towards the end of sustainable global aviation," said Mr Iswaran.

He acknowledged that there will be trade-offs and economic costs that come with the drive towards sustainability. Thus, initiatives such as the new international advisory panel, which includes a diverse range of voices, will help to ensure the viability of the ideas that emerge.

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At the opening of the Singapore Airshow 2022 on Feb 15, Transport Minister S. Iswaran told reporters that the issue of sustainability is an urgent priority for the global aviation industry.

Mr Iswaran added that Singapore will seek to move forward in a sustainable way, but also in a manner that ensures economic viability.

CAAS said in a separate announcement on Tuesday afternoon that it has signed a cooperation agreement with Airbus, CAG and industrial gas company Linde to study the development of hydrogen supply and infrastructure for aviation.

Under the agreement, the four parties will work together to conduct market analysis on projected aviation demand and supply for hydrogen, and regional readiness. They will also look into the commercial and technical feasibility of hydrogen adoption.

CAAS’ Mr Han said: “While our immediate focus is on sustainable aviation fuel, we also need to explore longer-term alternatives such as hydrogen to better understand the potential and seize opportunities.”

CAG said the two-year study will also look into infrastructure requirements and supply solutions to support hydrogen-powered aircraft and airport operations at Changi Airport.

In particular, it will be involved in assessing the feasibility of hydrogen fuel cells in supporting airport operations. 

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