AVIATION | Staff Reporter, Singapore

Singapore's Budget 2021 to bolster SIA's recovery

Flag-carrier Singapore Airlines sees support packages and vaccines as vital to its recovery.

The funding earmarked for the aviation sector under Singapore’s 2021 spending plan is expected to aid Singapore Airlines (SIA) in navigating through the crisis brought by the coronavirus pandemic.

Some $870m will be allocated to aviation in 2021, according to Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat, as the government sees the sector will likely rough-sail toward recovery.

“The measures will help to bolster the SIA Group’s plans to navigate the disruptions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, while remaining nimble and flexible to seize all opportunities as international routes re-open and travel sentiments improve,” SIA CEO Goh Choon Phong said as he expressed gratitude for the government’s support.

“The initiatives will also help our employees to retain their knowledge and competencies, and acquire new skills if necessary, ensuring that they are future-ready during this critical period,” he added.

The Singapore government will also extend the Jobs Support Scheme for another six months, benefitting the aviation, aerospace, and tourism industries. The program will grant a 20% support until June and 10% between July and September.

On top of this, the aviation sector will be prioritised in the government’s COVID-19 vaccination drive.

The SIA Group announced on 11 February that SIA and its two other passenger airlines SilkAir and Scoot were among the first carriers to operate flights with vaccinated pilots and cabin crew.

“The foundations that we build during this crisis will put us in a strong position to overcome the current challenges and cement our leading position in a fast-changing aviation environment,” Goh said.

SIA also said 90% of its cabin crew and pilots have signed up to participate in the vaccine program.

Heng said during the 2021 budget statement the aviation sector would take some time to recover, considering international borders remain closed as countries take caution to prevent spread of the coronavirus.

He noted the pandemic has led to the decline in the total volume of travelers in Changi to only 2% of its pre-COVID level.


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