Singapore is rolling out a six-month support package for the country’s aviation industry, with an aim of safeguarding Changi Airport’s air connectivity, reducing business costs, and protecting jobs, amid the coronavirus outbreak that has affected airlines worldwide.
The S$112 million ($80.5 million) package will comprise rebates on aircraft landing and parking charges, assistance to ground handling agents, and rental rebates for shops and cargo agents at Changi Airport, says Singapore’s finance minister Heng Swee Keat, while announcing the country’s budget plan for fiscal 2020, which begins on 1 April.
Airlines that had operated scheduled passenger flights between China and Singapore before the coronavirus outbreak will receive landing credits, Heng says, while those that continue to operate flights to China amid the ongoing outbreak will receive rebates on their landing charges.
A full rebate on parking charges is being extended to all scheduled passenger flights to Singapore. In addition, a 10% landing charge rebate will also be given to all freighter carriers into Singapore, and applied to all scheduled passenger flights from Southeast Asia to Singapore.
Singapore carriers that have obtained a new or renewed certificate of airworthiness for their aircraft from the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) during fiscal year 2019 will receive a 50% rebate on regulatory fees.
A planned 1% annual increase in landing, parking and aerobridge charges affecting all operators, which was due to start on 1 April, will also be waived off for a six-month period.
The finance ministry adds the package, which is being co-funded by the government, Changi Airport Group, and the CAAS, “will provide immediate relief to affected companies during the [coronavirus] outbreak period”.
The support package comes at a time when the coronavirus outbreak has led to a cancellation of more than 80% of scheduled flights between Singapore and China, says Singapore’s transport ministry.
“There are now fewer than 80 services [to China] per week, compared with over 400 prior to the outbreak. Passenger traffic has dropped,” the ministry was quoted as saying in an 18 February report from Singaporean newspaper Today.
This has also led to a decline in traffic from other regions to Singapore, it adds.
Hours before the budget plan was announced, Singapore Airlines said it will selectively cut flights to points outside of China for the next three months, including those to parts of Asia-Pacific, Europe, the Middle East, and the United States.