Preserve Seletar Airport's civil aviation heritage

Preserve Seletar Airport's civil aviation heritage
Seletar airport as seen on 21 November 2014. The airport will be torn down to make way for a bigger facility that will be able to serve more passengers.

SINGAPORE - I was sad to read that another piece of Singapore's history may soon become a thing of the past ("Seletar Airport to be rebuilt in upgrading plan"; last Monday).

I understand the economic reason for upgrading the small Seletar Airport, which is within the fast-growing Seletar Aerospace Park.

However, can't a few of the airport's buildings, such as the passenger terminal and control tower, be retained and integrated with the new structures?

Examples abound of how the old can co-exist with the new in Singapore.

In Seletar, retaining some of the black-and-white colonial houses have contributed much to the charm of the area.

They also serve a practical purpose: housing some of those who work in the aerospace park.

Perhaps parts of the Seletar Airport that used to be part of the Royal Air Force airfield in the 1920s could be converted into a civil and military aviation museum.

It could also house some restaurants to serve workers of the aerospace park.

The Republic of Singapore Air Force has a beautiful museum in Paya Lebar.

However, we have no heritage centre to boast of, despite Singapore's status as a leading air hub, to show our younger generation how far the country has progressed in the field of civil aviation.

When Singaporeans or tourists, such as British military veterans, embark on a heritage trail of Seletar one day, I hope they will get to enjoy more than just a historical marker at the site of the demolished Seletar Airport.

This article was first published on December 1, 2014.
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