SINGAPORE – Singapore and Japan will enhance air connectivity as part of an arrangement inked on Friday that may mean more flights for travellers to look forward to.

Both countries have committed to a comprehensive framework arrangement covering key areas such as aviation sustainability and safety, air traffic management, and airport innovation and technology. 

Announcing the signing of a memorandum of cooperation (MOC) on Friday with its Japanese counterpart, the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) said Japan is a popular destination for Singapore travellers.

CAAS and the Japan Civil Aviation Bureau (JCAB) said: “Prior to the pandemic in 2019, passenger movements between Singapore and Japan reached a historic high of 3.4 million, with over 200 weekly passenger services between Singapore and seven Japanese cities.” 

Passenger traffic has recovered to about 50 per cent of the level before the Covid-19 pandemic and is expected to further increase in 2023.

The MOC is the first of its kind inked between Japan and a South-east Asian nation, CAAS and JCAB said.

Japan and Singapore will collaborate and share expertise in areas such as airport and airline developments, consumer protection and greater cooperation between the airlines of both countries. 

Both countries will also exchange knowledge on the skills needed to create new jobs in sustainable aviation. They are also looking into developing a green lane to encourage the gradual uptake of flights powered by sustainable fuels.

Japan and Singapore will also share knowledge on innovative technologies at airports as part of efforts to meet service, manpower and sustainability goals. 

Mr Han Kok Juan, director-general of CAAS, said: “(The arrangement) bears testament to the strong economic and people-to-people ties between our two countries… and will provide travellers with more options and help boost air travel in the region.

“(It) will also allow us to leverage complementary strengths in our respective public and private sectors to seize new opportunities in sustainability, technology and innovation.”

Mr Toshiyuki Onuma, assistant vice-minister for international aviation at Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, said that the arrangement will accelerate both countries’ efforts towards fulfilling the International Civil Aviation Organisation’s goal of net-zero carbon emissions in the aviation industry by 2050.

Dr Michael Chiam, a senior lecturer in tourism at Ngee Ann Polytechnic, said that it is necessary for both countries to increase connectivity, especially after the pandemic.

He said: “Because Japan is a popular destination among Singaporeans, it is crucial to increase the number of flights to meet this pent-up demand.

“Singaporeans love to visit Japan for its seasonal weather, food, places of attraction as well as the hospitality of the Japanese people. It is also deemed a safe place by many travellers.”

Mr Aaron Wong, 34, who runs travel website The MileLion, said better connectivity will mean more options for those flying from Singapore to Japan.

“While Singapore and Tokyo are fairly well connected, there is potential for additional connectivity to secondary cities like Fukuoka, Nagoya and Kagoshima. These may not be served at all or served by only one carrier,” he noted.

“With more airlines offering direct flights, this will increase the competition between them and may lead to lower airfares.”

This content was originally published here.