Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Singapore Airshow Anticipating the Worldwide Shift Towards Decarbonized Aviation 

By Vijay Grover

Time and again questions have been asked about the Carbon Footprint that the aviation sector leaves behind for the world to worry about. This year at the Singapore Airshow 2024 Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore announced some bold steps towards sustainability. Air passengers contributing to a sustainability levy along with an air ticket to and from Singapore, could soon be a reality as Singapore proposes to start levying 3SGD upwards with every ticket in its mission to have 1% flights with Sustainable Aviation Fuel by 2030.

Speaking on the opening day of the Singapore Airshow 2024, Han Kok Juan, Director General Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore said that Air Traffic Management measures can result in a fuel reduction of around 5 to 7 percent. “While SAF will lead to a contribution of 2-3% reduction by 2030, we at Singapore believe that better traffic management can make a difference of about 5-6 percent,” said Han Kok Juan. CAAS is looking to reduce its carbon footprint and increase its focus on the Sustainable Aviation Fuel goals it has set for itself. The first steps were taken in this direction at the 2nd Singapore-Japan Dialogue last year on Aviation Collaboration. Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) and the Japan Civil Aviation Bureau (JCAB) highlighted the concept of an ‘aviation green lane’ which would encompass airline operations, airport processes and air traffic management (ATM).

Recently the Air Navigation Service Providers (ANSP) of Singapore, Japan, Thailand, the United States and Boeing saw the first successful multi-regional TBO demonstration flight which is part of a 3-year collaboration to advance the concept and bring about significant benefits for airspace users, including greater flight efficiencies and reductions in carbon emissions.

CAAS feels these ATM concepts would complement the current push for SAF, which it considers the key element to achieve carbon neutrality for aviation, but the two warned that there would have to be sufficient supply and competitive pricing in the Asia Pacific region.

Han Kok Juan, Director-General of the CAAS, explained that the collaboration on green ATM establishes tangible measures that can be immediately implemented and translate to immediate fuel and carbon emission savings. Han Kok Juan appealed to the sector to think in this direction to ensure zero carbon neutrality by the 2050 deadline. “We can achieve better fuel efficiency at airports immediately. We plan to harness solar fuel on the large land tracts in the airport to ensure better efficiency. Collectively this can help us achieve the sustainability goal”

Singapore’s initiative got a thrust at the Singapore Air Show when Airbus signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB) to facilitate the establishment of a Sustainable Aviation Hub with a specific focus on technology, research and innovation.

Under this MOU, both parties intend to enter into discussions to facilitate Airbus’ establishment of the Sustainable Aviation Hub in Singapore. The Hub will bring together aerospace professionals, researchers, and innovators to create a collaborative environment to promote research and development aimed at building a robust and environmentally sustainable aviation ecosystem.

To support the global transition towards decarbonized aviation, the Hub will focus on research and analysis of Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) supply chain and hydrogen-based technologies. The Hub will focus on advancing maintenance, services and operations within the aerospace industry, leveraging cutting-edge technologies and best practices. The Hub will work on projects aimed at modernizing and improving air traffic management (ATM) systems, as well as the emerging field of unmanned air traffic management (UTM).

This project includes the design, development, and the test and validation of sustainable next-generation aviation technologies and best practices in the industry. The Sustainable Aviation Hub will be hosted within Airbus’ Singapore Campus in Seletar Aerospace Park. A priority for the Hub is to work in close collaboration with the local enterprises, universities and research institutions to facilitate knowledge exchange, talent development, and joint research initiatives.

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