Mr Dennis Tan Lip Fong (Hougang): Thank you, Chairman. In the last few months, there appears to be some lamentation over the slow recovery of the Asia Pacific aviation industry from the pandemic amidst Government restrictions.
According to figures released by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) for October last year. travel in the Asia Pacific was down 92.8% in October 2021, compared to October 2019. According to IATA, the region is the only part of the world to see practically no improvement in air travel during the past year. A few months on, as countries battled their way out of the Omicron threat, I wonder whether there is any sign of recovery for the aviation industry in Asia Pacific and, indeed, for Singapore this year.
At last year’s Committee of Supply (COS), Minister Ong Ye Kung told the House not to expect a V-shaped recovery. That was before the start of the vaccine travel lanes (VTLs) for Singapore and many other countries. Many countries have relaxed travel restrictions in the last few months. Nearer home, Singapore continues to increase its VTL locations. Australia recently opened his boarders to visitors again.
As more countries start to open up and to increase flights to other countries and some relaxing COVID-19 test requirements, will the Minister update the House on his expectations for growth of air travel in the coming year and its implications for Singapore as a major air hub and for our aviation industry?
I would also like to ask the Minister whether we will see the start of recovery for the aerospace sector. This sector is significant in Singapore and includes maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO), avionics and aircraft component production and repair. As we head towards a post-pandemic world, may I also take the opportunity to ask the Minister whether he can update the House on MOT’s review of its plans for Terminal 5?
8 March 2022
Ministry of Transport