Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat Announces $112 Million Package For Affected Companies
The government has repeatedly acknowledged the difficulty Singapore’s economy is facing due to the Covid-19 outbreak.
On Tuesday (18 Feb), Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat announced that the aviation sector will be receiving a $112 million package to support the industry. This sector is one of the hardest-hit so far, reported The Straits Times.
Other bodies will co-fund package
The Aviation Sector Assistance Package will be co-funded by 3 bodies — the government, Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS), and Changi Airport Group (CAG).
They seek to support the companies impacted by the recent Covid-19 outbreak for 6 months. The overall aim is to lower business costs and protect jobs in the sector.
Mr Heng explained that most directly affected sectors are tourism and aviation. As lesser tourists visit Singapore, hotel occupancy rates will fall too.
Changi Airport will receive rebates
Changi Airport will get a 15% property tax rebate, which’ll ease tax burdens.
Apart from that, the following will also be included:
- rebates on aircraft landing and parking charges
- assistance to ground handling agents
- rebates on rent for shops and cargo agents at Changi Airport.
In addition, all Singapore carriers operating scheduled flights will save about $6 million on regulatory fees, thanks to CAAS’ 50% rebate on the fees for new and renewed Certificates of Airworthiness.
Any airline operating flights between Mainland China and Singapore will receive assistance too. Those that operated the routes will obtain landing credits.
Singapore Airlines (SIA) and carriers that continue operating scheduled passenger flights between Mainland China and Singapore will receive 100% rebate on the landing charges.
Sectors harder hit as China is now a major player
Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan added that Singapore is harder hit this time, as compared to during the SARS outbreak in 2003.
China is now a huge source of tourism for us, making up one-third of Changi Airport’s retail sales and 11% of our travelling traffic.
Back then it was only 5%. Now they’ve stopped completely, which is a big blow.
In addition, demand for flights to other countries are falling too. As it is, SIA cancelled more than 100 flights between Singapore and destinations like South Korea due to the falling demand.
Stay strong, Singapore
Hopefully, this package will be able to keep the aviation sector on its feet. We hope that economy will stay strong and recover from the crisis soon.
Stay strong, Singapore.
Featured image adapted from Unsplash.