Is the battered aerospace and aviation industry in Singapore set to recover beyond COVID-19, in 2022 and onwards? We think so! Singapore is a small city-state, which means it has neither a large economic hinterland nor is able to leverage on domestic tourism. Therefore, regional and global air travel are critical to rejuvenate Singapore’s aerospace and aviation industry.
In January 2022, Bain and Company projected global airline revenue for 2022 to reach $432 billion in the baseline recovery scenario, representing 65% of 2019’s revenue. This is definitely welcome news for Singapore’s aviation industry. To prepare to meet the accelerating demand for air travel, national carrier Singapore Airlines (SIA) has resumed cabin crew recruitment after a two-year hiring freeze, in order to “meet manpower requirements”.
Similarly, for Singapore’s aerospace industry, aircraft engine manufacturer Pratt & Whitney will be hiring another 250 full-time staff in 2022, adding to the 250 new workers it recruited in 2021. This will bring the firm’s headcount back to pre-pandemic levels by the end of the year, taking into account natural attrition of staff, said Mr Tim Cormier, Pratt & Whitney’s vice-president of aftermarket operations in Asia-Pacific. The new hires will span various roles, such as engineers, technicians and production associates.
The fortunes of the aerospace sector are closely tied to those of the aviation sector. Aerospace firms build planes and provide maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) services to players in the aviation sector, such as airlines. Several other aerospace firms, including GE Aviation and ST Engineering, have stepped up hiring of new staff in Singapore as optimism about recovery of the aviation sector grows. Jet engine-maker Rolls-Royce also said this month it is planning to hire 280 more workers here within the next two years.
The intensifying recovery in the aerospace sector is also spilling over to renewed interest in potential new growth areas, such as commercial air taxis. Air taxi pioneers Volocopter and Skyports are set to co-launch commercial air taxi services in Singapore in just two years’ time, beginning with frequent flights in Marina Bay and Sentosa. This could then expand to include cross-border air taxi trips to Indonesia and Malaysia. The air taxi companies explained that their technology is now close to commercial roll-out. The service is promised to be affordable to the general public.
Executive vice-president Tan Kong Hwee, of The Economic Development Board of Singapore, said: “Advanced air mobility is an emerging area that presents strong growth opportunities for Singapore. EDB is committed to ensuring that Singapore is well-positioned to capture these opportunities… to create good business and job opportunities for Singapore and Singaporeans.” Indeed, Volocopter plans to hire up to 500 direct employees here by 2030, and induce the creation of another 800 jobs.
Mr Tay Yun Yuan, head of Asia-Pacific at Skyports, hailed air taxis as the “next frontier for aviation, increasing connectivity to Singapore’s islands in the south and to countries such as Malaysia in the north, [thereby enhancing] our status as an aviation hub today”.
The above summary outlines the exciting growth opportunities happening in Singapore’s aerospace and aviation industry as Singapore emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic. Are you interested to be a part of this dynamic industry? Click here to find out more about our Master in Aerospace Engineering programme today!