Aviation support package will increase pay subsidies for local workers
Pay subsidies to go up to 50 per cent for another six months; rebates on airport fees extended another year
An $870 million support package for the hard-hit aviation sector will increase wage subsidies for local workers to 50 per cent for another six months, the Ministry of Transport (MOT) said yesterday.
The Jobs Support Scheme - which Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat announced would be extended in his Budget speech on Tuesday - provides firms in the sector with wage support of 30 per cent from April to June, and 10 per cent from July to September.
The Aviation Workforce Retention Grant, amounting to $330 million, will enhance that to 50 per cent for wages paid to Singaporeans and permanent residents from April to September, the ministry said.
Eligible firms will receive an additional 20 per cent for wages paid to each local employee from April to June, and an additional 40 per cent from July to September.
The wage subsidy is subject to a cap of up to $4,600 of gross monthly wages.
Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung noted that aviation has been one of the hardest hit sectors during the pandemic, "if not the hardest hit", as Changi Airport and its stakeholders lost 97.5 per cent of its customers.
As of last month, total passenger movements in Changi were only at about 2 per cent of pre-Covid-19 levels.
In his Budget speech, Mr Heng emphasised the need to position the aviation sector for recovery as part of efforts to deepen Singapore's position as a Global-Asia node.
The funding for the sector comes under the $11 billion Covid-19 Resilience Package announced in his speech.
The remaining $540 million under the OneAviation Support Package will go to cost relief, said MOT.
This includes extending existing rebates on fees and charges at Changi and Seletar airports for another year.
"The package will enable aviation companies to preserve core capabilities and tide through the crisis, and preserve Singapore's position as an aviation hub post-Covid-19," said MOT.
"We must avoid further reductions to the aviation workforce so that companies will not lose their core local capabilities, which has taken many years to build up. If the sector weakens its capabilities, this will hamper its ability to recover."
Companies whose activities are based principally at Changi Airport will receive the Aviation Workforce Retention Grant. These companies in the aviation sector are already receiving Tier 1 Jobs Support Scheme support.
They will receive two payouts for the grant, in September and December.
Firms in the air transport sector will also continue to receive training support, said MOT.
Chief executive of Changi Airport Group Lee Seow Hiang said the aviation support package would not only provide greater financial relief but help to strengthen the capabilities of its workforce and pioneer new ways to deliver safe leisure and business travel experiences.
He said air travel demand was unlikely to return to pre-Covid-19 levels in the near-term despite the promise of Covid-19 vaccines.
Many countries around the world continue to maintain tight border controls, he noted.