Singapore’s Seletar Aerospace Park (SAP) and Changi Airport are two cases in point. The plots of land in SAP’s phase-1 and phase-2 development have nearly all been built on or have been reserved, but now there are 40 plots in phase 3 being made available, of which 11 have runway access.

Phase 3 consists of a parcel of land at the southern end of SAP and a much larger parcel of land at the eastern side that was previously military land.

Jurong Town Corporation (JTC) is responsible for developing and managing SAP. JTC assistant managing director Heah Soon Poh says it has been a real challenge getting the land on the eastern side ready for development, because this was previously military land and they have had to redirect some underground cabling, sewage systems and water pipelines.

Companies that wish to lease land at SAP and build their own facilities can get 30-year leases, says Heah. He says JTC also builds stand-alone single-story factories that companies can lease; additionally, small-medium enterprises are welcome to lease space in a multistory facility called JTC Aviation One. Space in this facility is available on three-year lease, with option to extend for a further three years. JTC also plans to build a much larger multistory facility called Aviation Two.

Heah says Singapore is building from the strong base it has developed in MRO to do manufacturing of aerospace components and parts.

There are a total of 45 companies at SAP today, of which 23 are local companies and 22 are foreign companies, he says. The big-name tenants include Pratt & Whitney, Rolls-Royce, Bell Helicopter-Cessna, Airbus Helicopters (formerly Eurocopter), Bombardier, ATR, CAE, Fokker Services Asia, Jet Aviation, ST Aerospace and Vector Aerospace Asia.

Heah says some small- and medium-size Singapore companies have decided to establish facilities at SAP to be closer to their customers. He cites Wah Son Engineering, which provides engine rigs to Rolls-Royce, as an example. Heah also says Wah Son established a factory at SAP because it was unable to expand its facility at Loyang Way.

Some of the companies at SAP are pushing for more public transport links to SAP. Heah says that in February JTC will introduce shuttle bus services at peak times linking SAP to three metro (MRT) train stations.

He also says JTC is planning to introduce more food and beverage outlets at SAP by converting some of the black and white residential houses at SAP to this purpose.

The assistant managing director of Singapore’s Economic Development Board, Lim Kok Kiang, says phase 3 of SAP is 60 hectares in size.

He also says 1,080 hectares of land is being made available at Changi Airport, although some of that will be used for the airport’s new terminal five (T5) and third runway. But Lim says some land will be set aside for the MRO industry, as well as for cargo logistics. Some of this land can be used for airframe MRO, he says, adding that “we need to cater to SIA Engineering, ST Aerospace and other players as well.”

ST Aero needs the land at Changi because in August last year – during the National Day Parade – Singapore’s prime minister, Lee Hsien Loong, told the public that Paya Lebar airbase is likely to be closed in future and redeveloped into something more conducive for local residents living in the area. ST Aero, which does military and commercial MRO, is at Paya Lebar AFB.

Lim says aerospace companies from around the world are coming to Singapore partly because the city-state is a gateway to Asia, has a skilled and talented workforce, is “pro-business” and protects intellectual property rights.

“The growth is in Asia. The bulk of the new aircraft are destined for Asia and a lot of the new customers for aircraft are centred in and around the Asia-Pacific region. Aircraft makers and original equipment makers (OEMs) have to put more emphasis on this region,” he says.

Lim also points out that many OEMs are getting more involved in the aftermarket and that Singapore is working to capitalize on this trend. “If you look at the whole aftermarket for engines and airframes, there are new technologies and materials, such as composites, emerging. There’s more total support packages, inventory spares management, predictive and preventative maintenance.”

When it comes to total support, data analytic capabilities and remote monitoring of equipment becomes important, so Singapore is also looking at how it can play a role in that, he adds.