Advanced technologies are helping to propel the aerospace industry into a strong growth driver in Singapore, according to a leading economic official. The local industry has grown to one that now spans 130 companies, accounts for one percent of the GDP in Singapore and employs 22,000, Tan Kong Hwee, assistant managing director of the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB), said on Sunday before the opening of Singapore Airshow 2020.
The EDB, which fosters development across various industries, has focused on continued development of the aerospace sector in particular, and in turn, “We’ve seen very good growth,” Tan said. From 2015 to 2018, total output soared from a little more than $7 billion to $11.3 billion, while total value-added has grown from close to $3 billion to $4.2 billion, and employment is up by 1,000. The MRO sector in Singapore is particularly burgeoning, accounting for 10 percent of global output.
This growth comes as industry stakeholders have partnered with the EDB to bring new technologies that improve competitiveness and spur innovation, Tan said. He cited i4 technologies, or emerging digital technologies, as an example. Pratt & Whitney is one of the first in Singapore to adopt such technologies in its connected factory approach.
Pratt & Whitney, which invested in Singapore in the 1980s and now has six facilities in the region, has moved forward with automation and digitization at four of those factories. Local company Wah Son Engineering at Seletar Aerospace Park, meanwhile, has implemented data acquisition and new measurement systems to improve turnaround time for its complex tooling. As a result, the company is seeing an improvement of some 50 percent in its aero engine nacelle tools processes, Tan said.
On the innovation front, Collins Aerospace is developing additive manufacturing innovations in Singapore, and Singapore Airlines has put together KrisLab, where employees can work with potential customers, startups, and others in its ecosystem to focus on innovations. In addition, Rolls-Royce selected Singapore for upstream research and development of electrification.
Singapore authorities also are partnering with companies in the area of future flight technologies, including a collaboration that brought Volocopter testing to the island nation.
The growth of the aerospace sector in Singapore comes as Asia-Pacific is poised to become a dominant civil aviation market over the next two decades, accounting for 44 percent of projected global passenger growth, 39 percent of new aircraft deliveries, and a $3.5 trillion service market value by 2038, according to Leck Chet Lam, managing director of Singapore Airshow organizer Experia Events.