Budget 2021: Aviation sector to receive S$870 million in financial help this year

A total of S$870 million in financial aid will be given to airlines and other aviation companies this year as the Government continues to provide assistance for this badly-hit industry, said Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat in Parliament on Tuesday (16 February) while delivering Budget 2021.

In his speech, Mr Heng explained that some of the measures include a 10 percent landing charge rebate for all scheduled passenger flights landing in Singapore for airlines, as well as a 50 percent rebate on rental paid for ground handling companies’ lounges and offices within Changi Airport and Seletar Airport terminal buildings.

In 2020, a total of S$383 million was provided to the aviation industry, which includes the S$112 million Aviation Sector Assistance Package announced in Budget 2020 in February last year, the S$187 million Enhanced Aviation Support Package announced in August, and a top-up sum of S$84 million announced in December.

While speaking on Tuesday, Mr Heng noted that global air recovery will still “take some time” given that international borders are still closed. As of end-January this year, the total passenger movements at Changi Airport were only about 2 percent of pre-COVID-19 levels.

As such, he expressed that the wants the sector to make use of this quiet period to improve its capabilities and prepare for recovery, especially by investing in travel safety.

“Airports will be differentiated by their capabilities in securing public health and enabling safe travel. They will need digitalised systems and the ability to effectively re-route people and goods,” said Mr Heng.

He added, “To secure our position as a key aviation hub and maintain Changi’s position as a safe, trusted, and well-connected airport for travellers and employees alike, we will restore Changi’s connectivity and invest in on-arrival testing and biosafety systems.”

He also cited an example where GovTech is working with Temasek-founded start-up Affinidi to develop a software that can confirm the authenticity of digital COVID-19 test result certificates and vaccination records.

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