Selatar Airport Sets Standards For Ground Handling

March 19, 2014
Changi Airport Group prepares to make XSP Singapore’s top business and general aviation airport and prunes the number of licensed ground handlers who make the grade.

Three ground handling companies will receive licenses next month to officially operate at Selatar Airport for the next two years. The review of ground handling services as well as safety practices was part of CAG’s long-term strategy to position Selatar Airport into a top business and general aviation airport.

“Consistent standards are crucial for the airport to become a top airport,” says Ivan Tan, spokesman for Changi Airport Group. “This is a proactive step towards ensuring that the airport continues to provide a high level of service to users even as traffic grows.

The three companies remaining are from what were originally five companies that had been performing ground handling duties at the airport prior to a review of work standards.

Over the past three decades, CAG has successfully established the country’s Singapore Changi Airport as one of the world’s premiere airports as well as extended investments and management of commercial airports throughout the world.


CAG has officially managed XSB since 2009, but the airport has a long history. The airfield was built by the British just before the WWII, but was a Royal Air Force station as far back as 1928. It served as the Singapore’s first civil airport in the 1930s. The airport’s current runway was actually building during the Japanese Occupation of WWII. After the war, Selatar went to service as an RAF base until 1973. The facility was eventually handed over to Singapore aviation authorities.

In recent years, business aviation in Singapore has increased significantly. Aircraft movements have increased at a compounded annual growth rate of about 21% from 2007 to 2011. This reflects rising demand for private jet travel in Asia, as well as Singapore’s attractiveness as a financial and business hub.

Since 2008, XSB has also been undergoing construction to improve the airport’s infrastructure, including an extension of its sole runway and construction of the Selatar Aerospace Park, an industrial park catering to the aviation industry.

When the airport upgrades are completed in 2014, users can expect a significant increase in the number of parking stands, additional taxiways, upgraded aircraft parking aprons, as well as an instrument landing system. With the enhanced infrastructure, CAG expects XSB to support the growth of Singapore’s aviation industry.


The scope of ground handling services offered varied across these companies, Tan adds.

“Some of them were equipped with the full suite of capabilities and equipment,” Tan explains, “while others outsourced part or most of their service delivery. Over time, this resulted in a disparity in the capabilities of ground handling agents at the airport, making it difficult to apply consistent service and safety level requirements for all players.”

The process began in 2013 when CAG held its first consultation with the airport and its customers to review standards and apply an improved framework of operations. Very quickly, two of the ground handling companies fell out of favor with management.

“Our aim is for all ground handlers at the airport to meet a set of minimum operating standards for essential airside service.” Tan says. “This would mean a leveling up of service and safety standards among them, resulting in healthy competition among ground handlers, while motivating each operator to improve its operations and efficiency.”

The five ground service providers had been granted temporary permits to operate until the two-year licenses begin in April.

“The existing five ground handlers are expected to meet a set of minimum operating standards imposed by CAG for essential airside services and they will be monitored for their level of service,” Tan says. “CAG will continue to monitor their service levels and seek feedback from users to ensure that their needs are well met by the ground handling agents. They will be notified closer to the renewal date should there be new processes or requirements that they need to fulfill for the next license period.”