Complete Property Market Updates of Singapore

April 27, 2008

Seletar Aerospace Park tenants hazy about future

Filed under: General — Propertymarketupdates @ 5:03 am

Some unhappy incumbent operators at Seletar Aerospace Park are grumbling about facilities being taken away and poor communication by authorities who are developing the 300-hectare aerospace park.

Better communication: Prithpal Singh, who runs EJA, says the agencies should engage tenants regularly

Several tenants who spoke to BT said they feared their days in Seletar could be numbered, as they face the prospect of being evicted from their existing facilities – but without adequate new ones being offered.

Airmark Group, a $100-million business which operates charter cargo flights out of Seletar, claims it has been operating out of two 20-feet containers with no power or electricity since its facilities were taken back to redevelop West Camp.

‘We have been at Seletar for 30 years, and it looks like we are back to the primitive past,’ said the company’s chairman Yunos Ishak. ‘We have no hangar space, no facilities, no priority. The authorities developing this place seem to have no plans for players like us.’

It’s a similar complaint from Executive Jets Asia (EJA), whose regional business jet operations is headquartered at Seletar.

Prithpal Singh, who runs EJA, said his company had been told to vacate their premises at Seletar East Camp by the end of 2009.

‘We understand the redevelopment needs,’ he said. ‘But what alternatives are there for us? Until now, we have had no indication of where we will be relocated, what kind of facilities will be given to us or how we will be relocated. And we are barely 20 months away from having to vacate this place.’

Another criticism levelled at Jurong Town Corporation and other agencies spearheading the redevelopment of Seletar was that they were turning Seletar into another ‘Loyang aviation factory area’, with players like Rolls-Royce and Pratt & Whitney being accorded priority.

Rolls-Royce has broken ground on its $320-million Trent aero engine facility at the Seletar Aerospace Park, while P&W is building its new US$30-million, 105,000-sq-ft facility at the Park. Meanwhile, ST Aero’s latest $17.3-million, two-bay hangar will give it eight wide-body, and 13 narrow-body, bays in Singapore, while Jet Aviations’ existing facility is being extended.

But when contacted, JTC Corporation, which is spearheading the redevelopment of Seletar, denied that it was neglecting existing tenants and operators.

‘Seletar is for everyone in the industry,’ said a JTC spokesperson. ‘Currently, we are redeveloping the plots which are not fronting the runway, but in the years to come, we will be in a better position to evaluate the availablity and allocation of runway-fronting land.’

She said that JTC, together with the Economic Development Board would allocate land based on need, availability and business plans presented by individual corporations.

‘We are still at the early phase of development, and this is a complex project which still has 10 years to completion in 2018,’ the JTC spokesperson added. ‘We will be offering more land and facilities to players – big, small, local and foreign – as we move forward into our second and third phases in mid-2009 and after 2011, respectively.’

She added that plans were already being studied to build a commercial complex to house smaller aviation players, including business aviation.

‘We will look into what they need,’ she added. ‘But as this is not a greenfield project, we will have to work around existing land constraints.’

Meanwhile, the existing tenants want more clear timelines in order to plan their businesses and investment needs.

“We need better communication,” Mr Singh said. ‘They (the agencies) need to engage us on a regular basis.’

Seletar Aerospace Park is a 300-ha development cluster for aerospace MRO, design and manufacturing, training and business/ general aviation, all aimed at making Seletar Airport the region’s premier business aviation hub. The existing runway – built by the British Air Force over half a century ago – is being extended to cater to bigger business jets.

Source : Business Times – 14 Apr 2008


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