SINGAPORE – By 2024, air travellers should be able to arrive at the airport 85 minutes before their flight – a 30 per cent improvement from the current average of two hours.

That is the target set for the aviation community by Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore director-general Kevin Shum, who urged the industry to improve and simplify processes on Thursday (Aug 15).

He noted that while Changi Airport and the supporting aviation industry have been making “good progress” towards the goal of adopting technology to improve productivity, incremental change will not be enough going forward due to the demands in an increasingly globalised and digital environment.

“If we operate on a business-as-usual basis, we will need to hire and train 6,000 more skilled workers over the next decade. This will be very difficult given the shortage of manpower in Singapore,” said Mr Shum.

Adding that he is optimistic the target can be achieved without compromising on service standards and while adopting sustainable practices for the environment, Mr Shum said achieving the goal would require “fundamental shifts” in terminal operations, airside activities as well as air traffic management.

“It will be something that can only be done by the whole community working together – regulators and policymakers, airport operator, airlines, immigration officers, ground-handlers, air traffic controllers,” said Mr Shum, speaking at the launch of the Aviation Open House at Suntec Singapore Convention & Exhibition Centre.

The aviation authority also aims to make one in four jobs senior-friendly by 2030, said Mr Shum. To do this, senior workers will have to embrace changes and technology to upgrade their skills, and this would enable them to have longer and more meaningful careers, he added.

Some of the technological developments that would help to achieve this goal are on display at the biennial Aviation Open House, such as the smart digital control tower prototype that will go on trial later this year.

If the technology is proven reliable, the smart digital tower, which utilises cameras along Changi Airport’s runways as well as artificial intelligence, could eventually replace physical control towers.

Other innovations on display include a speech recognition prototype that will automate and shorten the transcription process during an aviation incident investigation, developed by Mitre Asia Pacific Singapore, as well as an experimental project by European plane-maker Airbus to develop unmanned air delivery of parcels.

Visitors will also be able to interact with aviation industry representatives who will share their career experiences and provide advice to students and job seekers who are considering a career or education in the industry.

Interactive workshops will also be held, including two classes under the Airbus Foundation Little Engineer Programme that will see participants assembling their own A380 airplane model.

The Aviation Open House will be held from Aug 15 to 17 at the Suntec convention centre. Admission is free. Those who pre-register for the event will receive a free goodie bag.

More information is available at