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SINGAPORE-As the aerospace industry continues to recover from the devastating effects of Covid-19, aircraft engine manufacturer GE Aviation will employ more than 300 workers here next year.
The American company celebrated its 40th anniversary in Singapore on Monday (November 22). Last year, it had to lay off about 600 employees in Singapore, some of which were laid off and others were temporarily placed in other companies.
But Iain Rodger, managing director of GE Aviation Singapore, said the company has started hiring again, with approximately 260 vacancies vacant between January and September this year.
He added that it is expected that another 250 employees will join the company by the end of this year, and by mid-2022, the number of employees will return to pre-pandemic levels. Mr. Roger stated that the company has continued to grow in the past year as airlines switch to cargo flights and borders begin to reopen.
He said that part of GE Aviation's global jet engine component repair volume has also moved here from the United States-this is an important reason for the company's current recruitment activities, which are ahead of the overall market trajectory.
Mr. Rodger added that due to Covid-19, some GE Aviation factories in the United States were forced to close, and the higher productivity of the three factories here put Singapore in an advantageous position.
The Republic accounts for more than 60% of GE Aviation's global maintenance.
Mr. Roger said that most of the new positions that need to be filled here are related to quantity, such as workshop technicians. But his company is also seeking to hire more automation and robotics engineers and data analysts because of its new technology.
GE Aviation currently employs more than 1,700 workers in Singapore, of which 56% are locals. The company is seeking to hire more local engineers and technicians, although there are challenges in finding personnel with the right skills.
Mr. Roger added that the company also relies on workers from across the Causeway Bay, so the expected vaccinations across the land border between Singapore and Malaysia “will only be a good thing for us”.
Other companies in the aerospace sector are also making a comeback and are beginning recruitment campaigns to re-employ laid-off workers or fill new jobs.
The Minister of Manpower and Second Minister of Trade and Industry Chen Siling said last month that the aerospace companies here hope to fill about 1,000 positions in the next two years.
For example, the US aerospace giant Pratt & Whitney has stated that it hopes to hire 250 new employees here by the end of the year.
This is after 400 jobs were laid off here in August last year.
Singapore’s Minister of Trade and Industry Yan Jinyong said at GE Aviation Singapore’s anniversary event on Monday that Singapore’s aerospace manufacturing output fell by 26% last year, and some companies had to take cost-cutting measures.
But with employment support programs and training and skills upgrading programs, aerospace companies and their workers are better prepared for the industry’s recovery.
Mr. Gan pointed out that compared with September last year, the aerospace industry grew by 22% in September this year, and urged companies to build capabilities in digital services, autonomous technologies, and sustainability.
"Although it may take time for air travel demand to return to normal, the long-term prospects for the industry remain optimistic," he said.
Minister of Trade and Industry Yan Jinyong is studying a new additive manufacturing technology for repairing aircraft engine parts developed by a local GE aerospace engineer. Photo: General Aviation
On Monday, GE Aviation introduced a new additive manufacturing technology for repairing engine components. This process, known as direct metal laser melting, has been used to make jet engine parts, but GE Aviation Singapore’s plant in Luoyang was the first plant in the world to be allowed to use it for repairs.
Ngiam Shih Tung, a 54-year-old engineering manager in charge of the project, said: "Parts have already flown for this repair."
The new process was developed by local engineers with the support of the General Electric Aviation Technology Center in the United States and the Singapore Economic Development Board. It is essentially a 3D printing of metal parts. Compared with the old welding process, the parts it produces require less post-processing.
Mr. Ngiam said: “The work that used to take five minutes to complete takes only one minute. The overall effect is that each employee can produce twice as many parts.”
Mr. Rodger said that the new process is more environmentally friendly and will help GE Aviation's customers get their aircraft back to the sky faster.
“This proves the skills of the Singapore engineering team,” Mr. Ngiam added.
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MCI (P) 031/10/2021, MCI (P) 032/10/2021. Published by SPH Media Limited, Co. Regn. The number is 202120748H. Copyright © 2021 SPH Media Limited. all rights reserved.
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