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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs   14 August 2013  

Seletar Airport raising service and safety standards of ground handlers

Capacity and infrastructure enhancements to prepare for future business aviation growth

Changi Airport Group (CAG) – Seletar Airport has embarked on a full-scale review of the service and safety standards of its ground handling agents, as part of its long-term strategy to position Seletar Airport as a top business and general aviation airport in the region. Through the exercise, Changi Airport Group (CAG) – the manager of Singapore’s secondary civilian airport – hopes to benefit users with even more efficient airside operations at Seletar Airport.

Previously, a total of seven licensed ground handling agents operated at Seletar Airport. The scope of ground handling services offered varied across these agents – some of them were equipped with the full suite of capabilities and equipment, while others outsourced part or most of their service delivery. Over time, this resulted in a disparity in the capabilities of ground handling agents at Seletar Airport, making it difficult to apply consistent service and safety level requirements for all players.

Since early 2013, CAG has held consultations with the Seletar Airport community and users, to review the existing ground handling standards and put in place an improved framework. As a result of these consultations, some incumbent ground handlers decided to change their business models or acquire the necessary capabilities in order to meet the new standards. Some incumbents, on the other hand, decided not to renew their ground handling licenses when they expired in June 2013, preferring to continue their activities at Seletar by working with other ground handlers.

Mr Lim Ching Kiat, General Manager of Seletar Airport, said, “Certain ground handlers did not possess the full suite of ground handling capabilities to carry out airside core services, such as towing of aircraft and passenger handling. While this situation was acceptable to
Seletar Airport in the past, it is not ideal moving forward. The traffic at Seletar Airport has grown steadily in recent years, spurred by the development of the Seletar Aerospace Park (SAP) and the healthy growth of business aviation activities in the region. Hence, the objective of the current review is to raise the overall standards of ground handling at Seletar Airport, to ensure that the airport continues to provide a high level of service to users even as traffic grows.

“Our aim is for all ground handlers at Seletar Airport to meet a set of minimum operating standards for essential airside services. This would mean a levelling up of service and safety standards among them, resulting healthy competition among ground handlers, while motivating each operator to improve its operations and efficiency.”

Five ground handlers at Seletar Airport have been granted temporary permits from July to December 2013, which will be converted into a two-year licence from 1 January 2014 if they meet CAG’s criteria under the new ground handling framework. Come 2014, Seletar Airport users will be able to choose from a number of providers, each offering a full spectrum of ground handling service options, with a more consistent and higher level of service and safety standards.

Singapore’s business aviation scene has grown steadily over the years, with aircraft movements registering a compounded annual growth rate of about 18% from 2008 to 2012 – a trend that is expected to continue.

Other developments at Seletar Airport
Concurrent with the review of ground handling operators, CAG is also undertaking several initiatives at Seletar Airport to enhance capacity and infrastructure.

One such initiative is compact parking of aircraft, in which an operator is assigned a specific Compact Parking Area (CPA), with the flexibility to position aircraft within the CPA to maximise parking space. This concept is commonly practised in many business aviation airports around the world and will enable Seletar Airport to better meet the increased demand for aircraft parking space. By the end of 2013, two more CPA plots will be added at the airport, bringing the total to five.

At the same time, 21 additional parking bays have also been constructed at the airport’s East (South) Apron, increasing, by 50%, the total number of parking bays to 58.

Other key on-going infrastructural upgrades include the resurfacing of the West Apron, estimated for completion in the fourth quarter of 2013 and the lengthening of the current 3,275-metre taxiway, by more than double, by early 2015. These works are part of an upgrading plan since 2008 to improve the infrastructure of Seletar Airport, to support the development of the SAP which the airport is a key component of.

Next year, Seletar Airport's capabilities will receive a further boost with the addition of a new Instrument Landing System that will facilitate airport operations even in low visibility and poor weather conditions, as well as the construction of Singapore's first Ground Run-Up Enclosure (GRE) at the East (North) Apron. The GRE will support the requirements of maintenance, repair and overhaul companies operating at the SAP for the conduct of aircraft engine run-ups, while mitigating the noise impact to surrounding tenants as a result of such activities.

The Airport Emergency Service of Seletar Airport will also have a new fire training ground by end 2014 to hone the proficiency of the airport fire-fighting and rescue team, further enhancing the team’s incident response capabilities.

As rising affluence in the region brings about an increased demand for air travel, these service enhancements and infrastructural upgrades will not only enhance Seletar Airport’s offerings to users, but position it to capture the growth opportunities in the regional aviation sector in the coming years.

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AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

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