Mr Khaw Boon Wan, Coordinating Minister for Infrastructure and Minister for Transport.

Mr Kevin Shum, Director General of the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore.

Mr Goh Choon Phong, Chairman of the IATA Board of Governors and CEO of Singapore Airlines

Ladies and gentlemen

Thank you for joining us for the official opening of our new Asia Pacific Regional Office in Singapore.

49 Years in Singapore

In four days, we will celebrate IATA's 49th birthday in Singapore. On 11 February 1969, IATA was officially registered by Freddie Milne and Olga Aeria as a business entity with our office located at McDonald's House. It was a small office back then.

Today the Singapore office is an important part of the global IATA network. It is our regional headquarters for the Asia Pacific, led by Conrad Clifford, our Regional Vice President. From this office, the IATA team drives the industry's priorities in 26 countries with the support of 11 country and area offices. That includes

  • reminding governments of the value that aviation brings, supporting over 30 million jobs and contributing over $700 billion in GDP in the region,
  • improving efficiency through our industry projects, such as Fast Travel and New Distribution Capability,
  • laying the groundwork for a sustainable aviation industry
  • enhancing safety and capacity through initiatives to improve air traffic management
  • settling close to $70 billion for the Asia Pacific region in 2017
  • Our training center also developed some 1,700 aviation professionals from 25 countries in 2017.

With aviation's center of gravity shifting eastwards, this office is growing in importance, and the activities performed here have grown. As a result a larger space was needed to accommodate the entire team and support the industry's development.

Enhancing our Presence in Singapore

The opening of this office marks a new chapter of our Singapore story. The larger facilities will boost our training capacity to support human resource development for our industry and at the same time host more industry meetings in Singapore. We will also be able to accommodate a much larger team. Today we have over 150 employees in this office represented by 27 nationalities, including 41 Singaporeans. We are able to grow to over 210 people, or almost 40% more than our previous office.

We are also adding responsibilities in Singapore. Last year, Singapore became one of four Global Distribution Center (GDC) locations around the world where we consolidated the supporting back office functions for our Financial Settlement Systems worldwide. With the GDC located in Beijing, Madrid, Montreal and Singapore, we will be better positioned to meet the increasing expectations of airlines, travel agents and forwarders using the IATA Financial Settlement Systems. This will eventually include the provision of 24/7 customer service coverage. The GDC will also support the roll out of products associated with the New Generation of IATA Settlement Systems (NewGen ISS). Today the Singapore GDC operations team handles customers speaking 12 languages from over 16 time zones. We have added 23 new jobs since Singapore was selected as one of the GDC locations.

Another area is the Global Safety Predictive Analytics Research Center, or SPARC. SPARC is a new initiative between IATA and the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) which uses predictive analytics to further improve aviation safety. Two years ago, we signed a statement of intent to determine the feasibility of this. I am delighted that we are moving to the next phase of developing industry-driven safety outputs with the signing of a memorandum of collaboration to establish SPARC.

Official Opening

Before I conclude, I would like to thank you, and our many partners in Singapore and around the region for your continued support for IATA's activities. The IATA team is committed to working in partnership with you to drive a safe, secure, profitable and sustainable air transport industry. And if there is anything we can do to assist, do not hesitate to contact Conrad and his team.

It now gives me great pleasure to invite Minister Khaw on stage to officially open our new Asia Pacific Regional Office.