Aerospace to Singapore
Trends and opportunities
Singapore is one of the world’s leading aerospace hubs, and the largest in
the Asia-Pacific region. Over the past 20 years, Singapore’s aerospace
engineering industry has expanded at a compounded annual growth rate of 10
per cent. With the demand for air travel in the Asia-Pacific continuing to
increase, it creates numerous aviation-related opportunities within the
aerospace manufacturing, Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO), research
and development (R&D) segments, as well as general aviation and
componentry distribution, among others.
The outlook for the aerospace industry remains positive, despite the
economic downturn buffeting a number of countries. Within Asia, air traffic
and aircraft fleet size are expected to increase, helped by rising demand
from regional economies such as China, India, and ASEAN countries, in
tandem with the growing middle-class population.
Globally, the aerospace industry is also poised for expansion and
approximately one third of all worldwide aircraft deliveries will go to
Asia over the next 20 years, according to aircraft manufacturers Boeing and
Airbus. As such, by the 2030s, the size of Asia Pacific’s fleet is
anticipated to triple to approximately 15,000 wide and narrow body
Singapore has a vibrant ecosystem of aerospace and aviation companies and
offers a highly efficient and all-round cluster of capabilities
competitively. There are over 100 aerospace companies1 in
Singapore, employing over 19,000 people, and with an industry output of
over A$8 billion. As the most comprehensive aerospace MRO hub in Asia, this
segment contributes 25 per cent of the region’s total MRO output.
As part of Singapore’s effort to compete and increase its aerospace
footprint in the region, the Seletar Aerospace Park (SAP) was developed as
an integrated and dedicated aerospace industrial park focusing on:
- Aerospace MRO, focusing on narrow bodied aircraft
- Design and manufacture of aircraft systems, components, and potentially light aircraft
- Business and general aviation activities
- Regional aerospace campus, which will house education and training institutes and research facilities
Spread over 300 ha, SAP provides world-class aerospace facilities equipped
with full-fledge business infrastructure and complete runway access, among
To date, a number of multinational corporations (MNCs) have opened
facilities, including Rolls-Royce, Pratt & Whitney, Bombadier, Cessna
Aircraft, Bell Helicopter, Hawker Pacific, and Fokker Services Asia.
The aerospace industry in Singapore comprises:
- MRO of airframe/equipment for military, commercial aircraft and general
- Manufacture of airframe structures, aircraft equipment and engine
- Design and development of avionics systems
- Refurbishment and reconditioning of engines, parts and accessories
- Calibration, testing and other specialised services
- Warehousing and distribution of aircraft parts
The strategic location of Singapore, situated at the crossroads of heavy
air traffic, is a major impetus to the growth of the aerospace industry. As
a major aviation hub, service and maintenance of aircraft and aircraft
component and manufacturing in Singapore is projected to grow
significantly. The government, together with the Civil Aviation Authority
of Singapore (CAAS) and the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB),
places high emphasis and investments on new infrastructure, labour and
aerospace technology development to enhance and sustain the industry’s
continued growth despite the current economic situation.
The CAAS, which is the aviation regulatory body in Singapore, is
responsible for implementing and maintaining airworthiness standards,
including the initial approval and subsequent monitoring of firms involved
in the manufacture, overhaul and maintenance of aircraft, engines,
propellers and associated components. Monitoring involves approval of
procedures, equipment and personnel of companies engaged in the local
Output of the Singapore aerospace industry can be quantified as:
- MRO market (90 per cent): Avionics repair and overhaul makes up nearly a
fifth of all repair and overhaul works.
- Manufacturing sector (10 per cent).
One of the more significant activities is the repair and overhaul of
engines and engine components. This involves precision machining, heat
treatment and plasma coating hence requiring a complex skill base and
substantial capital investments. This sector has grown substantially since
In the medium term, aerospace manufacturing is expected to grow faster than
aerospace repair, providing a new growth engine for the industry and is
expected to increase its industry output by up to 30 per cent by 2030. The
range of activities vary from engine components, landing gear systems,
engine fan blades, sub-systems.
Future airport handling capacities will also be increased as passenger
capacity is projected to grow from the present 66 million passengers to 135
million (by 2025). New passenger Terminals 4 and 5 are being built/planned
ahead of demand. The future demand for other support services, e.g. catering, cleaning, fuel supplies, logistics services and ground support
equipment, should also grow in tandem. Other areas of growth potential will
be aircraft leasing/financing, the sale of used aircraft and the training
of pilots and air-crew as airlines expand/upgrade their fleet.
While Singapore is a preferred aerospace hub in the Asia-Pacific, with a
comprehensive range of aerospace MRO and aftermarket services, as well as
advanced manufacturing capabilities, its pole position is continuously
under threat, with regional countries strengthening their aerospace sectors
as part of their wider air hub aspirations. For example, Malaysia has
established an MRO cluster at Subang Airport which has attracted key
aerospace players, while, the Lion Group will be building MRO facilities at
Batam Island, which is about 45 minutes away from Singapore by ferry.
Singapore’s competitive and sustainable strengths lie in its business
environment. The availability of trained skilled labour, progressive
international regulations and embarking on continuous improvement processes
to increase stakeholders value, are some of the key traits which enable
Singapore to retain its hub status.
Tariffs, regulations and customs
Singapore is virtually a free port, with very low tariffs on imported
goods. The main dutiable items are:
- Petroleum products
- Motor vehicles
A Goods and Services Tax of 7 per cent is imposed on imported goods. The
tax is calculated on the CIF value of the goods, plus commission and other
incidental charges and all customs duties payable, if applicable.
For the aerospace manufacturing sector, the minimum standards required is
AS9100 revC and if certain additional process is required e.g. heat
treatment or surface coating, the NADCAP (National Aerospace & Defence
Contractors Accreditation Program) is mandatory.
For the MRO sector, CAAS regulates the standards, which follows closely
with the EASA/FAA guidelines, and these standards covering maintenance,
production and design can be found
In 1981, a bilateral airworthiness agreement was signed between Singapore
and the United States. This allows the CAAS to certify made-in-Singapore
components to be exported to the US without further certification by the US
Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
In addition, Government-owned SIA Engineering Co Ltd (which is a subsidiary
of Singapore Airlines Ltd) and Singapore Technologies Aerospace (a
subsidiary of ST Engineering) are qualified to carry out ‘Section 41’
structural works on B747 aircraft (i.e. structural repairs from the nose to
the first passenger door when the aircraft has completed 20,000 flight
These certifications have allowed the industry to diversify into other
areas of aircraft maintenance. However, with the advent of composites
structures increasingly used in aircraft e.g. the new Airbus A350, which
has over 50 per cent of its wing/fuselage made entirely of composites, the
maintenance frequency for newer aircraft is longer as compared to the
all-aluminium body B747 aircraft.
Marketing your products and services
It is common for end-users (airlines) to purchase aircraft
equipment/products direct from the original equipment/component
manufacturers as all aircraft components and engines must be FAA/EASA/CAAS
CAAS-approved agents/distributors/MRO providers often offer installation,
commissioning, replacement and repair services and many have technical
sales teams which market directly to end-users. For airport ground support
equipment, no FAA/EASA approval or certification is required.
All government tenders, including CAAS tenders, are normally gazetted as
either a public or closed tender.
- For a public tender, which can be found on the Government E-Business website, only
Singapore-registered local vendors or Singapore-based overseas vendors,
overseas vendors who have registered with the appropriate tendering
authority that meet prescribed financial classification or overseas
companies who are invited to tender via High Commission/Embassy channels
For a closed tender, a sole source, or a select few, is/are eligible to
bid. Invitations to vendors to 'pre-qualify' for major turnkey projects are
Please click here for
guidelines on government tendering procedures.
For the aerospace manufacturing sector, in view of the stringent quality
assurance standards required, Austrade is working with major OEMs such as
Singapore Technologies Aerospace Ltd, Embraer, Rolls-Royce, Pratt &
Whitney, to access their global value chains via the clustering of
Australian aerospace accredited organisations. A number of these OEMs
conduct their sourcing from their regional HQ in Singapore.
Links and industry contacts
Ministry of Transport
- all land, sea and air regulatory bodies fall under the purview of this
ministry, including accidents investigations
Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore
- aviation regulatory authority in Singapore
Changi International Airport
- for information on Singapore’s Changi airport
Singapore Aviation Academy
- aviation and aviation-related training institution
Dnata Singapore Pte Ltd
- provider of airport ground support services, in-flight catering, security
and cargo services
Singapore Airlines Ltd
- Singapore’s main carrier
SIA Engineering Ltd
- an SIA subsidiary that provides aircraft overhaul, repair and maintenance
SIA Cargo Pte Ltd
– an SIA subsidiary involved in air cargo transportation
Singapore Technologies Aerospace Ltd
- Singapore’s defence and commercial aerospace manufacturing and
Singapore Airport Terminal Services Ltd
- provides airport ground support services to Changi nternational airport
International Enterprise Singapore
- government’s trade promotion authority
Customs & Excise Department
- oversees all trade customs and excise functions in Singapore
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