Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Seletar aviation base on track

JTC pushes on with infrastructure and facility development at the 300-hectare site to host aerospace businesses and services.

THE economic downturn may have slowed things down for the aviation industry, but it has yet to stop work at the upcoming Seletar Aero+sPace (SAP). Construction is ongoing at the 300-hectare site to turn it into a premier aviation base. SAP will host aerospace maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) services; aircraft system design and manufacturing activities; and business and general aviation. Research and training institutes will also set up shop there.

As the agency spearheading Singapore's industrial growth, JTC Corporation is developing various infrastructure and facilities to support businesses at SAP.

'Singapore's MRO hub is the most comprehensive in Asia and demand remains strong despite the global downturn,' says Tang Wai Yee, JTC director of aerospace, marine and cleantech cluster, in the agency's FY2008 annual report.

'JTC, together with the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore, will take this opportunity to lay a strong foundation for SAP by investing in infrastructure development so that the park is well poised to take off when the upturn comes.'

Singapore's aerospace industry employed some 19,000 people and contributed $6.9 billion in output in 2007. SAP could create more than 10,000 jobs and contribute more than $3 billion to the economy annually when it is completed in 2018.

SAP will have a Business Aviation Complex for companies providing a variety of support services - they may be supplying aircraft parts, managing fleets, leasing aircraft or handling aviation insurance. The complex will accommodate existing businesses in the Seletar airbase and also new entrants to the industry.

Construction of the Business Aviation Complex should start by the fourth quarter of the year and the building is expected to receive temporary occupation permit (TOP) by the first quarter of 2011.

JTC reveals that existing companies have committed to 25 per cent of the space, and it believes that the take-up rate will reach 50 per cent by TOP.

Aviation central

JTC is also planning for a 2.6-hectare General Aviation Centre that will offer shared facilities and space for line maintenance and the parking of smaller aircraft. Not only would the centre optimise space usage in SAP, it would also help individual companies cut down on fixed infrastructure investment and save on operational costs in the long run.

JTC has consulted several industry players to find out what their business requirements are, and to come up with an effective model for sharing facilities. It is keen on allocating the site for the centre to general aviation companies by early next year.

SAP will also have a Component Manufacturing & MRO Facility. It aims to offer companies a quick start-up route, by providing ready-built land-based factories for aircraft parts production or MRO services.

JTC hopes to market the three-hectare site early next year through the industrial Government Land Sales programme. Interested developers can bid for the construction of the factories, and the facility should be ready by the second quarter of 2011. The agency is confident that market demand for the facility will be strong.

JTC began the first phase of infrastructure works at SAP in late 2007 and is close to completing it. It has constructed a new sewer network, road network and drainage system, and will commission a 66kV substation in the next six months to supply power to the eastern part of SAP.

A new fuel farm site and the West Camp Road leading to Seletar Airport should be ready by the first quarter of 2010.

JTC also kicked off the second phase of infrastructure works early this year. Some houses made way for new developments, and construction of a dual three-lane arterial road began in May. The third phase of works is likely to start in 2012.

To preserve Seletar's rustic charm, JTC has conserved 32 black-and-white houses for 'adaptive reuse' as food and beverage outlets, training institutions, and avionics simulator centres. It has also retained the Seletar Camp Guard House and post-war lamp posts as historical landmarks.

JTC is also working on keeping SAP lush and green. Developers which remove trees of substantial sizes have to replace them, and their sites have to abide by the agency's planning design guidelines.

It's a bird, it's a plane...

Even the bus stops at SAP will be designed differently. Modelled after a fighter aircraft called Supermarine Spitfire, the bus stops will help to boost the character of SAP as an aviation base.

SAP has attracted several players in the aviation industry. One is ST Aerospace, which has opened new hangars for airframe maintenance and modifications. Another firm is Jet Aviation Asia Pacific, which has service centre authorisations from a wide range of original equipment manufacturers.

Engine makers Rolls Royce and Pratt and Whitney will also be at SAP.

'Companies at SAP will benefit from synergies in this integrated environment that include economies of scale and increased efficiency,' JTC says in its annual report.

'There is also significant scope for new industry collaborations - alliances brought about by the Park's shared infrastructure, and close proximity to suppliers, customers and partners within the tightly knit aerospace community.'

Source: Business Times, 29 Sep 2009

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