Airbus and Singapore have been strategic partners for over 50 years, with a relationship that dates back to 1969 when the city-state received its first Alouette III helicopters from Aerospatiale, one of the two original Airbus founding partners. As Singapore developed into one of the world’s leading aviation hubs, the European manufacturer contributed to that with its cutting-edge products and services and a growing presence in the country’s important aerospace industry.
Airbus has been successful in Singapore in every area of its business including commercial aircraft, defence, space and helicopters. In addition, the company has developed a strong local presence primarily focussed around high-value services.
Airbus Singapore Campus is the regional hub for its commercial aircraft, defence, space and helicopter businesses. Located at Singapore’s Seletar Aerospace Park, the new campus covers an area of 51,000 square metres. It is an extension of an existing site, housing the Airbus Asia Training Centre (AATC), a joint venture between Airbus and Singapore Airlines, and the company’s Asia-Pacific spare parts distribution facility, operated by Airbus subsidiary Satair.
Today, Airbus employs around 800 people in Singapore. It also is home to a Skywise team and Airbus Leadership University.
To date, Airbus has sold more than 640 civil passenger aircraft to airlines and leasing companies in Singapore, making the country one of the top five markets in the region for the European manufacturer. Customers include Singapore Airlines (SIA), Scoot and Silkair, as well as leading lessor BOC Aviation.
Together, they have placed orders across the Airbus commercial aircraft product line including the best-selling single-aisle A320 Family, the popular and versatile A330 widebody, the new long-haul A350 XWB and the A380.
Singapore Airlines first became an Airbus customer in May 1979 with an order for the A300B4, the original widebody twinjet aircraft. As of October 2020, the airline has placed orders for 144 widebody aircraft from the company.
The carrier was the launch customer for the A380 following the aircraft’s entry into service in 2007. Deliveries of its latest batch of A380s began in December 2017, with Singapore Airlines launching its latest cabin products on these aircraft. SIA had 19 A380s in its fleet as of October 2020.
In January 2009, Singapore Airlines added the popular A330-300 to its fleet under lease agreements. The airline had eight A330s as of October 2020.
Singapore Airlines has ordered 67 A350 XWB aircraft, making it one of the largest customers for the new widebody aircraft. Its first A350-900 was delivered in 2016.
In September 2018, Singapore Airlines started to receive its seven A350-900 Ultra Long Range (URL) aircraft. This enabled the re-launch of non-stop services from Singapore to New York, which are the world’s longest commercial flights today. As of August 2019, the A350-900ULR has been deployed on non-stop services to Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle.
The A320 Family is the product of choice for both full-service and low-cost carriers in Singapore, where Silkair, Scoot and Jetstar Asia have the aircraft in their fleets. In 2014, low-cost carrier Tigerair – which later merged with Scoot – ordered 39 A320neo aircraft to renew its fleet and support its future growth plans. Deliveries began in November 2018.
Singapore-based leasing firm BOC Aviation placed its first Airbus order in 1996 with a deal for 12 A320 Family aircraft. Since then the company has ordered over 370 aircraft from the A320, A330 and A350 XWB families, making it one of the top 10 customers by the number of orders for Airbus.
Airbus has supplied various models of helicopters to the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF), including the large transport Super Pumas. In 2016, Singapore signalled its confidence in the H225M with a new order to meet its future medium lift requirements.
In 2014, Singapore ordered the new-generation A330 Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) to enhance its air-to-air refuelling capabilities, undertake passenger and cargo transport missions, and support international humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR) operations. The first aircraft was delivered to the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) in 2018, and made its public debut at the service’s RSAF50 parade in September that year.
In the space segment, Airbus supplied Singtel’s first telecommunications satellite that was launched in 1998. Airbus has helped Singapore to become a leader in the near equatorial domain, and contributed to the country’s recent successes via the TeLEOS-1 national programme with key equipment and leading-edge test campaigns. Airbus also is proud to be a part of the TeLEOS-2 programme since 2017.
A Singapore-based Geo-Intelligence team focuses on the distribution of Earth observation satellite imagery throughout Asia, providing access for Asian institutions and partners to the Pléiades, SPOT, TerraSAR-X and TanDEM-X satellites and constellations.
Beyond the commercial achievements, Airbus has established a major presence in Singapore with several locally incorporated companies that focus on regional customer support, maintenance and training operations.
The Airbus Asia Training Centre (AATC), a joint venture owned 55% by Airbus and 45% by Singapore Airlines, began operations at the Seletar Aerospace Park in April 2016. It offers type rating and recurrent training courses for all in-production Airbus types. It is the largest Airbus–operated flight crew training centre in the world, operating eight full-flight simulators for the A350 XWB, A380, A330 and A320.
Airbus Services Asia Pacific (ASAP), which manages the company’s customer support and customer service activities for operators in the region, and Satair Airbus Singapore Centre, the primary spare parts hub for Airbus aircraft for operators in the Asia-Pacific, also are located within the Seletar Aerospace Park.
Singapore-based Airbus Helicopters Southeast Asia (AHSA) operates as a regional hub, focusing on sales, marketing, training, materials support and logistics, technical support, design engineering and technology development.
Airbus sourcing activities in Singapore focus on the procurement of aircraft services, cabin and engine parts, systems and equipment through various suppliers. They include SIAEC, ST Engineering and the local units of Honeywell, Rolls- Royce, Safran, Thales and United Technologies.
The company also has an important global partnership with ST Engineering Aerospace for the passenger-to-freighter (P2F) conversion of Airbus A330 and A320 Family aircraft. ST Engineering Aerospace markets the conversion programmes worldwide, and the conversion work is carried out at ST Engineering Aerospace facilities and a jointly owned subsidiary EFW in Germany.
DHL received the first converted A330-300 freighter in December 2017. In February 2018, Vallair Solutions Sàrl (Vallair) signed up as the launch customer for the A321P2F programme. EFW will convert 10 A321-200 passenger aircraft to a 14-pallet cargo configuration for Vallair.
Singapore is a strategic partner for advanced research and innovation initiatives. These include programmes in collaboration with the National University of Singapore (NUS), Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD), as well as government agencies such as the Economic Development Board (EDB) and A*STAR. Airbus has two major innovation projects underway in Singapore.
The first is Skyways, a project aimed at experimenting and developing regulations, technologies and operational requirements for the safe, efficient and sustainable operation of drones in large urban environments. The project was launched in February 2016 in collaboration with the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore and NUS, with SingPost becoming a logistics partner in 2017.
Skyways successfully demonstrated the ability to deliver packages by air autonomously at the university in February 2018. Activities were subsequently extended to ports and anchorages in March 2019, when Skyways began maritime shore-to-ship delivery trials at the Singapore pier. This marked the first time drone technology has been deployed for delivery to working vessels in real port conditions.
The second is the Hangar of the Future, which is focused on harnessing the latest digital technologies and autonomous inspection systems to reboot the MRO business, significantly increasing operational efficiency for airlines. This project was launched in 2016 in association with Temasek Polytechnic, and several Singapore start-ups. The project is co-funded by Airbus and the EDB, and trials are ongoing at a test-bed hangar in the Temasek Polytechnic.
A key element in the project is the huge amounts of data generated by the aircraft in service, which will be collected and analysed via Airbus’ open data platform, Skywise. This will enable MROs to predict the required maintenance tasks for a given aircraft, helping to optimise planning and maintenance task execution and minimising aircraft on-ground time.