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Singapore Airshow 2018: More innovation needed to drive aerospace growth, says Iswaran

[SINGAPORE] More than 70 per cent of the workers in the aerospace industry here are in high-skilled areas, such as precision engineering and electronics.

This points to the "knowledge and technology-intensive" nature of the sector that employs more than 20,000 workers, said Minister for Trade and Industry Mr S. Iswaran, speaking at the fifth A*Star Aerospace Technology Leadership Forum on Monday.

Organised by the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*Star), the forum was held in conjunction with the biennial Singapore Airshow.

Mr Iswaran noted that Singapore currently controls more than 25 per cent of the Asian maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) market, as well as 10 per cent of the global MRO market.

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He added that there has been a seven per cent compound annual growth rate in the local aerospace industry over the past two decades, with employment growth of about four per cent in the sector during the same period.

The Government is confident that opportunities in sector will continue to grow "riding on sustained economic growth in the Asia-Pacific", he said. The region is expected to account for a third of all aircraft deliveries over the next 20 years.

"We must continue to position ourselves to benefit from the opportunities arising from these trends, not only in MRO but also other segments like aerospace manufacturing and aftermarket services," he said.

Mr Iswaran noted that the aerospace industry transformation map, announced last month (January), focuses on innovation. He said it is important that local businesses, especially small-and-medium-enterprises (SMEs), undertake more "higher value activities" such as product development and innovation.

Partnerships between the public and private sectors can "accelerate the development of solutions based on real industry needs", said Mr Iswaran.

He cited the example of satellite-based communication and data services provider Addvalue Technologies.

The SME last year (2017) established a joint-laboratory with A*Star's Institute for Infocomm Research to develop internet-of-things solutions for satellite communications.

The lab will conduct research to bridge gaps in existing inter-satellite communication links.

"The Government will continue to foster such partnerships between the public and private sectors, in order to harness our collective strengths and capabilities, to participate in emerging opportunities in the aerospace industry."

THE STRAITS TIMES

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