Singapore, US to explore ways to revive air travel amid COVID-19, including vaccination certificates

Singapore, US to explore ways to revive air travel amid COVID-19, including vaccination certificates

Ong Ye Kung and Pete Buttigieg
Singapore's Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung discussed climate change and restoring international air travel amid COVID-19 with US Transport Secretary Pete Buttigieg on Apr 8, 2021. (Photo: Facebook/Ong Ye Kung)

SINGAPORE: Singapore and the United States will explore ways to revive international air travel safely amid COVID-19, including the use of vaccination certificates.

Singapore’s Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung had an introductory virtual meeting with his US counterpart Pete Buttigieg on Thursday (Apr 8), during which they discussed several issues including recovery from the pandemic and climate change.

Both Mr Ong and Mr Buttigieg “recognise the impact of transportation on climate change”, and the “critical role” it will play in driving economic recovery, keeping goods and supply chains moving, and facilitating people-to-people exchanges.

“Building on the excellent co-operation established over the years by the technical agencies and officials on both sides, they intend to strengthen and deepen bilateral exchanges between Singapore and the United States across all transport sectors,” said Singapore’s Ministry of Transport and the US’ Department of Transportation in a joint statement.

READ: SIA to test IATA travel pass for COVID-19 result, vaccination status of passengers

Besides exploring ways to revive international air travel and long-term post-pandemic recovery and resiliency, the countries agreed to continue to cooperate on enhancing safety, security and facilitation.

They will exchange best practices on urban transport and intelligent transport systems, and explore opportunities to advance digitalisation and “harness the potential of automation”, said the joint statement.

CLIMATE CHANGE

With both Singapore and the US parties to the Paris Agreement, they will collaborate on climate action in the area of transport. These include alternative fuels, electrification, market-based measures and tech advancements for greater efficiency.

They will also advance the development and deployment of sustainable aviation fuels and other green technologies that meet international standards, said the joint statement.

READ: Return of business travel, sustainable fuels expected in aviation's future

READ: Singapore unveils Green Plan 2030, outlines green targets for next 10 years

Other areas of cooperation include identifying new innovations such as electric vehicles, autonomous vehicles, electric vehicle charging infrastructure and smart mobility technologies.

Singapore and the US will also explore climate-friendly best practices in urban transport planning, such as reducing unnecessary trips and encouraging the use of public transports and low-emissions options such as walking and cycling. 

“Both sides intend to also strengthen co-operation at the ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization) and International Maritime Organization (IMO), to keep aviation and maritime transport open, efficient, reliable, safe, sustainable, and resilient, in a manner consistent with applicable international law, and in close consultation with industry and other stakeholders,” said the joint statement.

At the ICAO, this includes engaging in processes to advance a new long-term goal to decarbonise the aviation sector, and encouraging full participation in the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation.

READ: Commentary: Singapore ports and ships are turning the tide on climate change

At the IMO, they will also aim to reduce emissions from ships and plan to work towards “at least achieving the ambition” to halve emissions from vessels by 2050 compared to 2008 levels, as well as exploring ways to “strengthen the levels of ambition”.

“We will continue our engagement at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, specifically through the Transportation Working Group and Transport Ministers’ Meetings, supporting the goals of the APEC Putrajaya Vision 2040 and advancing the group’s efforts on climate, innovation, and digitisation,” said the joint statement.

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Source: CNA/mi

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