Year-end letter for Members, Partners & Friends

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From the President's Desk
16 November 2020

Dear Members & Friends,

   We have been facing difficult and challenging realities in the past months. COVID-19 has caused unprecedented disruption to global air transport and its supply chain. It has affected our industry and businesses, upending our lives at the personal and professional level.

2.   This crisis has also sparked renewed interest amongst our members to work together for mutual support. It has highlighted the value of AAIS as the Voice of Industry and as a platform for collective action. As we approach the tail end of 2020, I would like to take stock of this tumultuous and eventful year, and share our plans for the times ahead.

 Starting with Momentum
3.    We began this new decade meaningfully with Aerospace Community Day on 14 January 2020, where members treated more than 100 seniors from four homes to a festive Lunar New Year luncheon. The following day, we represented 45 aerospace companies at the renewal of the Aerospace Student Outreach Initiatives MOU – a partnership with the 5 Polytechnics, Institute of Technical Education, JTC, and the Employment and Employability Institute to promote aerospace education and careers. The start of February was marked with a slew of activities around Singapore Airshow 2020. AAIS was once again appointed by Enterprise Singapore to coordinate the Singapore Pavilion which featured 23 SME exhibitors.

4.     We continued to progress and build upon the momentum of previous years, particularly in the areas emerging technologies and innovation. The Singapore Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Community, which we formed in early 2019, has grown to represent 40 organisations. We published the second edition of the Singapore UAS directory and set up a developmental indoor testbed facility with JTC earlier this year. To further innovation, we partnered with Starburst for the Singapore Aviation Accelerator. This programme aims to enrich the ecosystem by developing start-up enterprises to address industry problem statements. AAIS will be involved to mentor the graduating start-ups through our networks and platforms.

Responding to Crisis

5.    When the crisis hit our shores and threatened our industry, AAIS switched gears and repositioned ourselves for effective response. We set up the Aerospace Covid-19 Taskforce (ACT) in March, chaired by Mr Robin Thevathasan of the AAIS Panel of Experts. Feedback sessions with members were promptly initiated to understand the impact of the pandemic and to formulate policy recommendations. This led to a series of government engagements culminating in a letter to DPM and Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat at the start of May. We achieved major outcomes from this, with the extension of the 75% Jobs Support Scheme and Enhanced Training Support Package to the aerospace industry.

6.     In parallel, the Association released an open letter of solidarity from the Singapore Aerospace Community to the nation. We also stepped up our engagement with the media to ensure that the public understands the important role aerospace plays in Singapore’s Air Hub and broader economy. We sought to explain the wider global context and impact of COVID-19 on the industry, as news of aerospace retrenchments hit the headlines. I was pleased that our members were featured and highlighted for their transformation efforts in inspiring stories on the local aviation and aerospace sectors.

Transforming to Serve Better

 7.    The Association has also stepped up our own transformation, reinventing the way we deliver value and services. In step with industry, we accelerated our internal digitalisation efforts – rolling out a new membership management platform to improve our membership services and activities. We augmented our communications to members, through more frequent newsletters and alternative channels. We also used our resources to support the industry, for example, facilitating members’ appeals to public agencies, supporting retrenched staff, offering free advertising in our online business directory, and running workshops to reskill our associate trainers to conduct online training.

8.     As restrictions were imposed on physical events, AAIS quickly pivoted towards webinars and started offering virtual training courses for the industry. In a matter of months, we organised more than 20 online dialogues, networking and webinars, and will be looking to host at least 5 more by the end of the year. I am immensely grateful to the many experts in the community who have shared their knowledge and facilitated at these fora. Some of these useful resources and webinar recordings continue to be available on our website for members’ reference.

Results of Annual General Meeting

9.     Our 18th Annual General Meeting on 29 October was also conducted virtually. I thank members for the strong turnout and cooperation, which allowed all procedures and voting to be conducted seamlessly. Members endorsed the FY2019/20 Annual Report and audited Financial Report. We also reappointed Mr Paul Sandosham of Clifford Chance as the Honorary Legal Advisor and Ernst & Young as the Honorary External Auditor. I would like to to record our appreciation of Mr Sandosham, and Mr Vincent Toong of Ernst & Young for their continued strong support of the Association.

10.    We held elections to fill vacant positions on the Management Committee, and were pleased to welcome Mr Mads Bondergaard of Airbus as the newly elected 2nd Vice President, as well as Mr Matt Waters of Rolls-Royce Singapore and Mr Desmond Goh of Eaton Aerospace as Committee members. In these difficult times, I was heartened by the overwhelming response, with 8 candidates stepping up for the elections. This is a wonderful testament to the spirit of our aerospace community, with many talented leaders eager to contribute time and effort to the advancement of the industry. There is much to be done, with various communities and initiatives needing leadership and facilitation, and I look forward to working with you to drive these programmes forward.

Advancing Together

11.    Without a full recovery in international air travel, the outlook for aerospace is expected to remain depressed for some time. In the months ahead, the Association will be working on 3 priorities. First, to ensure that the aerospace industry receives the support it needs in the near term, we have collated industry inputs and proposed measures to the Ministry of Finance for Budget 2021. Second, we are working jointly with the Singapore Economic Development Board on a Future of Aerospace study. Our aim is to develop a picture of the post-pandemic world-order for aviation and aerospace. This will help us redefine and reimagine our industry, so businesses can capture new opportunities and position themselves strongly for the post-COVID world.

12.     Third, we recognise that ultimately, nothing is going to save the industry except the safe resumption of air travel. We want to add our voice and resources to this important agenda. We have therefore been reaching out to key government agencies involved in this to offer support. We are also participating in relevant international fora, for example, the International Coordinating Council of Aerospace Industries Associations, which is actively working on these issues. The Association recently welcomed Mr Mervin Sirisena to our Panel of Experts to represent us in this endeavour.

13.     To ensure that we can play these roles effectively, AAIS needs your continued firm support. We need your membership, active participation, ideas, solutions and resources. You are welcome to contact the ACT at or reach out to any one of the Management Committee members or secretariat with feedback or suggestions. Now, more than ever, we need the power of the collective.

14.     As we draw towards the close of this unforgettable year, I wish you time to pause for personal rejuvenation. We will need this renewed energy for 2021. I have every confidence that, together, we will surmount the current challenges and emerge stronger. I look forward to better days ahead and seeing you soon.

Thank you.
Philip Quek 


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