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Singapore's aviation, maritime sectors receive financial boost

The Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) on Wednesday announced that it will replenish the Aviation Development Fund (ADF) from April 1, 2015, but this time with S$160 million over the next five years. The lion's share - S$140 million - of the S$160 million will go towards raising airport productivity and developing manpower. The remaining S$20 million will be channelled towards other projects which will benefit the local aviation industry.

Meanwhile, the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) will inject a further S$65 million into the Maritime Cluster Fund (MCF)- Manpower Development (MD) programme, which will be used to attract and develop local talent.

With other airports in the region raising their game, Changi Airport is seeking to boost productivity to maintain its edge as a competitive air hub, against the backdrop of a tight labour market. CAAS said that more sector-level programmes will be introduced, building on existing ones that encourage the adoption of self-service options for passengers and of technology to drive labour productivity.

The CAAS will also beef up funding support and lengthen timelines for company-level programmes which transform the way firms operate.

Concept plans for Changi's upcoming Terminal 5 have also been finalised, as the airport seeks to prepare itself for anticipated traffic growth. With an initial capacity of 50 million passengers annually, T5 will be built to ensure airfield efficiency and with a large main terminal building so that transfer passengers will be able to catch connecting flights quickly and easily. T5 will also provide the greatest number of remote aircraft stands, so more aircraft on longer layovers can be parked there, which would free up the terminal's contact stands for other planes.

T5 will be built in two phases, depending on air traffic growth.

Meanwhile, the MPA also announced that it plans to support firms in the maritime cluster through manpower development and training. Two taskforces were set up last year - the Tripartite Maritime Manpower Taskforce for Seafaring and the Maritime Manpower Taskforce for Shore-based Sectors.

The Tripartite Maritime Manpower Taskforce for Seafaring will focus on attracting Singaporeans to seafaring careers, as well as retaining talent and up-skilling Singaporeans via training grants and achievement awards.

The MPA will also be setting aside another S$6 million over the next five years to double the number of scholarships awarded annually to 20.

The Maritime Manpower Taskforce for Shore-based Sectors, on the other hand, will map strategies to help maritime companies fill important shore-based jobs such as in areas like port operations, ship operations and ship broking.