What will it take to improve aviation safety in Singapore?

File photo of people at the transit area at Changi Airport Terminal 3 on April 30, 2021. ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

SINGAPORE - The Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) has published a Singapore National Aviation Safety Plan to address safety risks in the coming years.

Here are some of the issues addressed in the report.

The Singapore aviation sector is expected to face safety challenges in these areas:

  1. Five high-risk categories faced by aviation operations worldwide: runway incursion, runway excursion, mid-air collision, loss of control in-flight and controlled flight into terrain.
     
  2. Two safety risks that are particularly relevant to Singapore: systems component failure and ground occurrences resulting in damage.
     
  3. Risks linked to Covid-19 disruption, such as decreased competency of flight crew and airworthiness of grounded aircraft that are returning to service.
     
  4. Other risks associated with changes in the operating environment and the use of technology.

Under the National Aviation Safety Plan, four strategic priorities are highlighted - to mitigate operational safety risks, enhance regulatory regime, enable enterprise and innovation, and contribute to aviation safety globally and regionally.

These are some of the 50 actions stated to achieve these goals.

1. Improve operation safety in:

a. Flight operations

Air operators are required to review and roll out flight crew reactivation and induction training programmes to address risks arising from the Covid-19 pandemic. This will be completed this year.

b. Air navigation services

Air navigation service providers are required to develop and implement an enhanced continual training programme to prepare air traffic control officers for the resumption of high traffic volume at Changi and Seletar airports. This will be completed this year.

CAAS will enable and ensure the safe integration of unmanned aircraft into Singapore's airspace. This will be done in three stages between 2022 and 2026.

c. Aerodrome operations

CAAS will develop guidance for the safe conduct of trials and deployment of autonomous vehicles at the airport by this year.

2. Enhance policies and rules

CAAS will develop a regulatory framework, including regulations and safety oversight processes for electric vertical take-off and landing aircraft operations and vertiport operations. This will be done by 2023.

CAAS and the industry will also work together to promote the recognition and global adoption of Singapore's industry standards for the use of additive manufacturing, or 3D printing, in aircraft modification design or production processes.

3. Reinforce safety management

CAAS and the industry will co-create a handbook with industry to share best practices for the fostering of a strong and positive safety culture by 2023.

4. Expand digitalisation and use of data analytics

CAAS will improve the user experience of public-facing digital services to improve delivery of regulatory services by 2023.

CAAS will also implement data projects to identify and address operational risks.

It will also conduct a feasibility study on the use of electronic licences for Singapore flight crew by 2024.

5. Support growth of regional and global aviation safety

CAAS will establish a centre of excellence for aviation safety to spur analysis and studies on key safety areas and emerging issues, so as to strengthen safety capabilities in Singapore and the region. This will be done by this year.

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