Year-end letter for Members, Partners & Friends

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President's Year End Letter
15 December 2021
Dear Members & Friends,

   It has been a month since I took office as President of AAIS. On behalf of the Management Committee (MC), I would like to thank all AAIS members for your attendance and support during the Annual General Meeting.

2   I wish to convey my appreciation to outgoing President, Philip Quek, for his dedication to the Association over the past six years. Through his effective leadership, I was able to assume the reins of a financially sound and well-functioning organisation. I also extend my appreciation to members of the previous MC, notably former Honorary Treasurers Philip Sung and Koh Pak Keng, who have stepped down. Their financial stewardship during the depths of the pandemic was invaluable to the Association.
Wong Yue Jeen
AAIS President
3   This year has been full of uncertainties, interspersed with hope and disruptions. Nevertheless, AAIS has been steadfast in using its network and resources to support our members. As the year draws to a close, I would like to review the highlights of what we have achieved together.

Action, Outcome, Impact

4   We started the year impactfully, with a letter to Deputy Prime Minister, Coordinating Minister for Economic Policies, and then-Finance Minister, Mr Heng Swee Keat, on 29 January 2021. In it, we articulated the value of continued government support to help the aerospace industry tide through an extended period of recovery. As a Tier 1 industry under the Jobs Support Scheme, aerospace companies received valuable financial support, and we were pleased to receive an extension of this assistance till September 2021. The Enhanced Training Support Package was also extended until the end of the year.

5   Reflecting industry concerns for our people and the talent pipeline, AAIS stepped up our career promotion efforts this year. We worked with partners on events such as Aerospace Day, #WhyAviation Conference, Women in Aviation & Aerospace, and ASPIRE Week. We supported displaced and unemployed aerospace professionals via our Community of Aerospace Professionals, sharing opportunities to stay abreast of industry developments and providing connections to various job openings. To address manpower issues and the anticipated industry recovery, a Manpower Subcommittee was established under the leadership of MC member, Philip Ang. We are appreciative of the inputs we received from members during the focus group discussions. 

6   'Sustainability' could well be a candidate for word-of-the-year, as the world and the aviation industry addressed the deep concern over climate change. We also sought to play our part by promoting the adoption of solar energy for the industry. AAIS and JTC launched the inaugural Singapore Aerospace Industry Solar Adoption Report (SAISAR 2021) in August 2021. This report presented a consolidated view of the industry’s progress, as part of Singapore’s national target of 2-gigawatt peak of solar power by 2030. The responses we received were encouraging and we intend to publish progress reports in the coming years, as well as continue to explore other sustainability initiatives.

7   In its role of facilitating business, AAIS pivoted to virtual platforms to give members a channel for exploring new market spaces, emerging industries, and diverse opportunities. We delivered close to 30 webinar titles to members, covering trending topics such as artificial intelligence, innovation, advanced air mobility, cyber security, and the market outlook. Popular events like networking, government dialogues, business missions and trade shows also went virtual. All in all, more than 3,000 industry executives, professionals and students attended these virtual events.

8   I am heartened to note that the industry did not forget those in need despite a difficult year for businesses. In lieu of our regular Chinese New Year luncheon which was not possible, we delivered bento lunches, red packets and care packages to elderly homes. The 12th Management Committee rolled up its sleeves and volunteered at Willing Hearts, a soup kitchen that prepares, cooks and distributes about 9,500 meals every day. Aerospace executives took to the greens in support of the Cerebral Palsy Alliance Singapore at the Aerospace Partners Golf Tournament in October 2021. I thank all of you for your active participation and contributions. 

A Cautious Recovery

9   It has been a productive year for the Association despite formidable challenges. We see early signs of industry recovery driven by the re-opening of borders and global recovery of air cargo and domestic air travel. As of October 2021, Changi recorded 863,000 commercial aircraft movements[1], an 814% increase versus last year. The aerospace segment itself expanded by 22% in the third quarter of this year[2] and grew 26.9% year-on-year in October[3], according to latest data by MTI and EDB. Taking (pre-pandemic) 2019 figures as a baseline, aerospace industry production recovered to 86.3% in October 2021, up from the 68% in the same month last year.

10   The data is encouraging but we are also mindful that the road to recovery is fraught with risks and uncertainties. New waves of COVID-19 outbreaks, variants like Omicron, and concerns over waning vaccine efficacy could lead to re-imposition of restrictions. Businesses are also concerned with inflation, protracted supply disruptions, rising energy prices and geopolitical uncertainty. As we move forward on this bumpy road to recovery, the Association will have a critical role to play. I would like to propose some focus areas for AAIS as we gear up for the post-pandemic era.

Onwards, Together

11   First, facilitating new business. Disruptions to the global supply-chain have prompted some aerospace companies to reorientate business models and explore diversification. To facilitate members, AAIS will provide platforms for Singapore companies to connect to opportunities and explore new market space. Members can look forward to tradeshows such as the upcoming Singapore Airshow 2022, B2B meetings with overseas aerospace companies and business missions. AAIS will also continue to strengthen our networks to include adjacent sectors such as Defence, as well as drive an active industry platform supported by a growth of interest and contributions from Singapore-based SMEs. We have, for example, provided an opportunity for members to present their solutions to defence and commercial aerospace engineers at the Singapore Aerospace Technology and Engineering Conference, organised by RSAF and SIAE in conjunction with SA2022. I hope members will maximise these networking and exploratory opportunities.

12   Second, futureproofing. In preparation for full recovery, AAIS has been working closely with EDB on a ‘Future of Aerospace’ study which will feed into the national industry development strategy and the next iteration of the Aerospace Industry Transformation Map. To maintain the Singapore industry competitive edge, AAIS will continue to help members in your digitalisation, technology, innovation, and sustainability drives. We will also offer support and facilitation for emerging industries including start-ups, unmanned and autonomous systems, leasing and others. Our membership, which is anchored by a strong base of aerospace manufacturing and MRO companies can be greatly fortified with additional and complementary capabilities, which will enable members to explore mutually beneficial partnerships and collaboration.

13   Third, industry interlocutor. As global air travel resumes, AAIS will contribute to key policy-making discussions at global fora such as the ICCAIA and IAQG. At home, we will continue our thought leadership and advocacy role to promote the resilience, innovation and growth prospects of the Singapore aerospace sector. We will home in on industry concerns and provide the appropriate platform for discussion through AAIS working groups, and dialogues with regulators and government agencies. The Manpower subcommittee, for example, has shared its initial findings and recommendations with relevant government agencies and is working on its action plan.

14   I am encouraged by the prospects of the Association and together with my fellow MC members, we will work towards the AAIS vision of “An Innovative Aerospace Community for a Sustainable Future". I look forward to working with all of you to advance this with vigour and energy as we emerge from the global crisis.

15   I look forward to hearing your ideas, and to seeing you soon. 

Thank you.
Yours sincerely,
Wong Yue Jeen


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