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S'pore and New Zealand ink agreement to collaborate on sustainable aviation

SINGAPORE — The aviation sector cannot go back to business-as-usual and must adopt sustainable initiatives in a post-Covid world, Transport Minister S Iswaran and New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Wednesday (April 20) as they attended the signing of an agreement between both countries to develop a greener aviation ecosystem.

S'pore and New Zealand ink agreement to collaborate on sustainable aviation

The Memorandum of Arrangement on Sustainable Aviation will see both countries collaborate and share information on initiatives to advance sustainable aviation.

  • New Zealand and Singapore signed a Memorandum of Arrangement on Sustainable Aviation on Wednesday
  • Transport Minister S Iswaran and New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern both reiterated that the aviation sector cannot go back to business-as-usual and must adopt sustainable initiatives in a post-Covid world
  • Panellists at a roundtable discussion on the future of aviation stressed the need for different stakeholders and nations to collaborate and reduce emissions in the sector
  • On Wednesday, Singapore and New Zealand signed two other partnership agreements to enhance food and technology innovations between both countries

SINGAPORE — The aviation sector cannot go back to business-as-usual and must adopt sustainable initiatives in a post-Covid world, Transport Minister S Iswaran and New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Wednesday (April 20) as they attended the signing of an agreement between both countries to develop a greener aviation ecosystem.

The Memorandum of Arrangement on Sustainable Aviation will see both countries collaborate and share information on initiatives to advance sustainable aviation.

Under the agreement, which was first announced by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Tuesday during a joint press conference with Ms Ardern, both countries will coordinate the research, development, test-bedding and trial of sustainable aviation fuel.

They will also study the commercial viability of setting up “green lanes” between both countries to encourage consumers to take up flights which run on sustainable fuel.

The agreement was signed by Mr Han Kok Juan, the director-general of the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS), and Ms Jo Tyndall, the New Zealand High Commissioner to Singapore, at the Changi Experience Studio in Jewel Changi Airport.

The signing, which took place ahead of a roundtable discussion on the future of aviation, was witnessed by Mr Iswaran and Ms Ardern.

Ms Ardern is leading a trade mission in Singapore. She arrived on Monday and will depart on Wednesday.

‘REDOUBLE EFFORTS’ FOR SUSTAINABLE AVIATION

In his opening remarks ahead of the roundtable discussion, Mr Iswaran said that the aviation sector must “redouble (its) efforts” for sustainable aviation as it emerges from the Covid-19 pandemic.

International aviation accounted for 2 per cent of global carbon emissions pre-Covid, he noted.

“If we fail to act, the sector’s emissions will rise in tandem with the post-pandemic recovery, and more than double by 2050 from 2019 levels.

“This is clearly not tenable, neither for the sector nor for its wide range of climate-conscious stakeholders,” said Mr Iswaran.

Mr Iswaran noted that there will be challenges ahead in reducing the sector’s emissions, given that low-carbon alternatives such as sustainable aviation fuels are expensive and low in volume.

Different industries and nations must come together to tackle these challenges. To this end, the agreement between Singapore and New Zealand is timely, said Mr Iswaran.

Ms Ardern said that the agreement between both countries acknowledges that the aviation sector “cannot afford” to return to business-as-usual following the pandemic as it is unsustainable.

“It also sits counter to our brand as a nation and what many tourists and consumers who visit New Zealand are looking for from a travel experience,” said Ms Ardern.

This is why New Zealand is working with partners such as Singapore to ensure decarbonisation and environmental sustainability, she added.

SECTOR MUST COLLABORATE TO IMPROVE SUSTAINABILITY

During the roundtable, panellists featuring leaders in the aviation sector of both countries highlighted the challenges involved in reducing the carbon emissions in the aviation sector and stressed the need for different stakeholders and nations to collaborate.

Mr Goh Choon Phong, the chief executive officer of Singapore Airlines (SIA), said that there needs to be a focus on developing sustainable aviation fuels if the sector is to reduce its carbon emissions.

While SIA is already working with CAAS to study the adoption of sustainable aviation fuel for its airlines, Mr Goh noted that the study must also figure out how to develop sufficient and acceptable feedstock at a price that the industry can accept.

Sustainable aviation fuel is produced from feedstocks such as cooking oil, solid waste or waste wood.

Doing so will require many stakeholders such as governments, airlines and airports to come together, said Mr Goh.

Mr Lee Seow Hiang, the chief executive officer of Changi Airport Group, also highlighted how some innovations in sustainability within the sector are policy-driven and require consensus among stakeholders.

He raised the example of how there is a lack of global standards on what is acceptable feedstock and added that there need to be consensus among all countries at a policy level.

Ms Carrie Hurihanganui, the chief executive of New Zealand’s Auckland Airport, said that airports also have to build infrastructure that supports sustainable aviation.

Such infrastructure would have to support emerging aircraft technology such as hydrogen fuel cells which may only be developed beyond 2030, she added.

“But as we plan infrastructure for the next 20 to 30 years and beyond, having clarity on (the right infrastructure) will be incredibly important,” she said.

The panel was moderated by Mr Han of CAAS. The other panellists were Mr Greg Foran, the chief executive officer of Air New Zealand, and Mr Malcolm Johns, the chief executive of Christchurch Airport in New Zealand.

On Wednesday morning, Ms Ardern presided over the signing of two other partnership agreements to enhance food and technology innovations between Singapore and New Zealand.

The first was the Enhanced Partnership for Growth Arrangement between Enterprise Singapore and New Zealand Trade and Enterprise.

The agreement will see both countries increase collaborations that encourage business leaders to share expertise and knowledge in order to develop business networks in both markets.

The Singapore Institute of Technology also signed a collaboration agreement with The FoodBowl, a New Zealand government-supported food innovation network, to develop sustainable food innovations.

Related topics

New Zealand Jacinda Ardern S Iswaran aviation sustainability

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