Singapore leads the rest of Asia in aircraft maintenance, engine repair, component repair and overhaul capabilities. It is well placed to maintain its leadership position to capture a larger slice of the $40.8 billion global commercial maintenance repair and overhaul (MRO) market, which is expected to grow at 3.6% a year to $58 billion over the next 10 years.
Singapore’s MRO sector had an output of $4.5 billion and employed some 18,000 workers in 2006. Independent and airline MRO operators accounted for about 36% of revenue, while original equipment manufactures (OEMs) took up 34%. In terms of activities, engine overhaul is the single biggest segment, accounting for 48% of the total revenue and component repair accounted for 26%.
By 2018, Singapore’s aerospace output is expected to double to $9.0 billion, according to projections by the Singapore Economic Development Board. This growth will be fuelled, among other factors, by the expansion of low-cost carriers that typically outsource to cut costs, and the arrival of new aircraft such as the Boeing 787 and Airbus 380 needing new maintenance and support equipment and expertise that airlines may not want to invest in.
The Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS), which is a statutory body under the Ministry of Transport is responsible for the Civil Aviation standards and conformity assessment in the country. In the execution of its functions, CAAS is backed by prescribed powers and also by national law such as the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore Act (and subsidiary legislation thereunder), Air Navigation Act (and subsidiary legislation thereunder), Carriage By Air Act, Tokyo Convention Act, Hijacking of Aircraft and Protection of Aircraft and International Airports Act.
The Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore Act, in particular, spells out the functions of CAAS, which include the following:
- to maintain and manage the CAAS’ aerodrome and to provide such services and facilities as are necessary or expedient for its operations;
- to provide air traffic control service, flight information service, alerting service and aeronautical information service within the Singapore Flight Information Region;
- to regulate and to promote the development of air transport; and
- to act internationally as the national authority or body representing Singapore in respect of matters relating to civil aviation.
The Air Navigation Act and the subsidiary legislation thereunder (eg. the Air Navigation Order and the Air Navigation (Aviation Security) Order) gives effect to the Convention on International Civil Aviation ("Chicago Convention") and its 18 Annexes, all of which contain the Standards and Recommended Practices adopted in accordance with the Chicago Convention.
Product Certification Process
Singapore signed technical arrangements on aviation maintenance with Hong Kong and Canada. It also signed a bilateral aviation safety agreement (BASA) with the United States in February 2004 (Executive Agreement) and September 2007 (Implementation procedures for air worthiness). The BASA covers design and manufacturing of TSO and STC products and enables design, manufacture and direct shipment of aerospace systems from the U.S. to Singapore and vice versa. CAAS will accept products certified by FAA and vice versa. Technical Standard Order (TSO) is a minimum standard for specified materials, parts and appliances used on civil aircraft. Supplementary Type Certificate (STC) is a type certificate issued when an applicant has received FAA approval to modify an aircraft from its original design.
By Chia Swee Hoon