Aviation industry to hire 4,000 more workers by end-2022, taking total to 90% of pre-COVID workforce: Iswaran
SINGAPORE: Aviation stakeholders aim to hire another 4,000 workers from September to the end of the year, bringing the aviation industry to about 90 per cent of its pre-COVID workforce, said Transport Minister S Iswaran on Monday (Oct 3).
Speaking in Parliament on the progress of air travel recovery, he noted that these aviation stakeholders have already been building up the workforce and training new hires since early this year.
And the first half of 2022 saw the air transport sector recover to about 80 per cent of pre-COVID levels, he said.
Addressing queries on whether recruitment could be sped up, Mr Iswaran highlighted that this is “a very challenging time” for aviation companies.
“I think we know that there’s just a general shortage of manpower. And in particular, for aviation, especially on the air side, it’s not just about recruitment, but we got to make sure that they are trained, and they are able to deliver safely for themselves and for all other uses of the aviation services,” he said.
Mr Iswaran added that digitalisation and sustainability are key considerations for the industry and in hiring new talent.
“And for this, we will need specific skill sets. So we either have to retrain those who are already in the industry, and that is happening as we speak, but at the same time, we also may need specific types of talent to come onboard to augment what we already have,” he said.
“And so this is something that both the airlines but also the airport and ground handlers are focused on.”
COPING WITH RAMP-UP IN CAPACITY
To cope with the anticipated growth in the number of passengers and flights, Changi Airport reopened its Terminal 4 on Sep 13, and will be commencing departure operations in the southern wing of Terminal 2 on Oct 11, said Mr Iswaran.
Arrivals in Terminal 2 had also commenced on May 29.
With these, Changi Airport will have the physical capacity to accommodate “up to 70 million passengers per annum, which is about 100 per cent the capacity that we had or the passenger traffic levels that we had pre-COVID”, added Mr Iswaran.
This also represents about 80 per cent of Changi’s pre-COVID capacity.
AIR TRAVEL "RECOVERED STEADILY"
Since Singapore reopened its borders to all fully-vaccinated travellers without testing or quarantine in April this year, air travel has “recovered steadily”, Mr Iswaran said.
“As of the first week of September, average weekly passenger traffic at Changi Airport has recovered to above 60 per cent of pre-COVID-19 levels. And it has held at that level steadily,” he said.
“The number of flights at Changi Airport has also recovered to nearly two-thirds of pre-COVID-19 levels.”
The minister added that the number of flights that airlines have filed to operate at Changi Airport by the year end is more than 80 per cent of pre-COVID levels.
This is expected to increase further as airlines respond to travel demand following the recent border easing announcements by key travel markets, such as Hong Kong, Japan and Taiwan.