SINGAPORE: Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung will deliver a ministerial statement in Parliament on Tuesday (Oct 6) on the Government’s strategies for the aviation sector, which has been battered by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Calling the aviation sector a “key lifeline for Singapore”, Mr Ong said in a Facebook post on Monday he will address several questions filed by Members of Parliament (MPs) Saktiandi Supaat, Gan Thiam Poh, Melvin Yong and Liang Eng Hwa “on plans to aid recovery of our air hub and our flag carrier”.
Mr Ong also said he will speak on the topic of whether to impose tax on “flights to nowhere”.
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“While Singapore Airlines (SIA) has already announced it will not go ahead with flights to nowhere, I will also address concerns raised by Members Mr Dennis Tan and Assoc Prof Jamus Lim on this, including whether a tax should be imposed on such flights,” said Mr Ong.
Mr Tan from the Workers’ Party (WP) has submitted a Parliamentary question asking the minister what factors will be considered before approving no-destination flights. The MP for Hougang also asked if carbon emissions from such flights will be a factor for approval.
Dr Lim, also from the WP, has asked if the Ministry of Transport (MOT) has considered imposing a per-flight environmental tax for these “flights to nowhere”.
In addition, the Sengkang GRC MP asked if MOT has considered suggesting to SIA to have pilots retain skills via simulators and have flight crew members’ salaries be further supplemented by the estimated additional environmental costs through a Government subsidy, instead of operating the no-destination flights.
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The global aviation sector has been severely crippled by the COVID-19 pandemic with strict border restrictions limiting travel, causing a plunge in revenue and an increase in layoffs by airlines and related businesses.
SIA Group reported the first annual net loss in its 48-year history in May and has said it will cut about 4,300 positions, affecting around 2,400 staff. Industry watchers expect more job losses to come.
Published at Mon, 05 Oct 2020 10:10:38 +0000