The worst may be over for Singapore’s aerospace industry as companies start hiring again


COMPANIES MOVING FORWARD

Mr. Iain Rodger, managing director of GE Aviation in Singapore, said the company is witnessing a continued recovery in the aviation industry as countries gradually open their borders.

“We are experiencing positive growth in the second half of 2021 and are optimistic for 2022 as the industry continues its multi-year recovery,” he said.

At ST Engineering, its commercial aerospace business secured new contracts worth approximately S $ 874 million in the second quarter of this year. These included orders to convert passengers to cargo and MRO contracts.

“Although we have indeed seen a number of significant tenders (tenders) and new orders as some airlines renew their existing contracts and flight operations slowly resume, most of the business of maintenance are still in support of domestic travel and cargo ships, which has seen increased demand during the pandemic, ”said the president of the company’s commercial aerospace, Jeffrey Lam.

“However, we believe the market has bottomed out and is on a gradual recovery path.”

ST Engineering said it remains “very positive” about the growth and outlook for the industry, and will continue to build its MRO capabilities in airframes, components and engines.

It will also continue to expand its passenger-to-cargo conversion business – an opportunity it seized last year by reallocating underutilized A321 passenger jets into cargo planes for air cargo.

This has been a bright spot for the company amid the recession, and continues to see strong demand due to a booming e-commerce industry, Lam said. It already established a cargo leasing joint venture with Temasek in August of last year.

“With this new venture, we will meet the growing demand for cargo aircraft as e-commerce and air freight volumes expand across the globe, while leveraging our deep technical expertise to deliver solutions for end-to-end, including entry into service. , deployment and maintenance, ”added Mr. Lam.

Mr. Middlebrough of SAESL said the aerospace industry “is a very difficult beast to predict as a whole,” but he sees certain geographies and market segments making faster recoveries.

For example, domestic and regional short-haul travel will likely make a comeback before long-haul international flights. With this, narrow-body jets are expected to experience greater demand.

Airlines are also more likely to return their most cost-effective, fuel-efficient and durable aircraft to service first.

SAESL should take advantage of these trends. “I maintain Rolls-Royce engines and Rolls-Royce engines are favorably oriented towards this new end of life cycle,” said the general manager.

That said, industry players are well aware of the turbulence to come with the continued spread of the more infectious Delta variant.

“Make no mistake, I think there will still be obstacles in the way over the next six to 12 months, but we need to start planning for macroeconomic recovery now,” Middlebrough said.

Airbus said while there are clear signs of recovery in most regions, it does not expect a return to pre-pandemic levels until 2023 at the earliest.

Indeed, the MRO services being strongly impacted due to the immobilization of the fleets, a “significant recovery of the sector will only take place” with the return to service of these planes.

Mr Anand Stanley, president of Airbus for Asia-Pacific, added: “Until there is general acceptance of this fact (that COVID-19 must be considered endemic) and a significant reopening borders without restrictive quarantines, the aviation sector in the region will continue to lag behind recovery elsewhere.

Nonetheless, the company said it was “fully committed to its presence in Singapore” which serves as its regional hub.

“When the airline market in the region recovers, we will review our plans for the future, which will include expanding our presence in Singapore,” Stanley added in an email response to CNA.


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