By Gerrard Lai
Singapore aviation firms are getting a $5-million leg-up from the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore to expand their reach overseas.
The money will be disbursed through its Aviation Development Fund's (ADF's) latest initiative - called the Aviation Promotion Programme - aimed at reinforcing Singapore's status as an aviation hub.
This was announced by Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew yesterday at the annual Aviation Community Reception. It was held at the Red Dot Design Museum in Maxwell Road.
Speaking to more than 300 industry executives and stakeholders, Mr Lui explained that Singapore is "facing intense competition" internationally.
He said: "There is a need for stronger collaboration between the industry and Government, to overcome barriers to entry overseas and expand market access."
The funding will help Singapore companies to showcase their products and services at major international trade shows, raising their profile overseas.
The Aviation Innovation Programme - launched two years ago under the ADF - will be expanded in scope.
Originally intended to support the development of new capabilities in companies, it has now been extended to support them in embarking on projects to raise productivity.
Productivity gains may refer to how quickly a company repairs defective planes, for instance. Mr Lui described aviation as a "strategic pillar" of Singapore's economic success, and highlighted that last year was a good year. Passenger movements grew by about 11 per cent to reach a new high of 46.5 million; cargo traffic grew by 2.8 per cent to 1.87 million tonnes; and the aerospace sector achieved a record output of $7.9 billion.
Despite challenges such as high fuel prices and a weak global economy, Mr Lui was optimistic about the growth potential in the Asia-Pacific region, which Singapore is ready to tap, he said.
Compared to Singapore's "resource-rich competitors", the country has to "strive harder to build capacity for the future", he said.
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