Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS)

The Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) is a statutory board under the Ministry of Transport. Set up on 1 September 1984, the mission of this statutory board is to develop Singapore into an international aviation hub.1 The board’s responsibilities include maintaining and managing Singapore’s airports, providing air traffic control services, and enforcing air safety rules and regulations.2 CAAS is also in charge of setting airline flight schedules and air tariffs as well as issuing licenses and permits for charter operations and the carriage of cargo or dangerous goods.3 Furthermore, CAAS represents the government in the negotiation of bilateral air services agreements and advises the government on other civil aviation matters.4

Prior to the establishment of CAAS, the Department of Civil Aviation managed civil aviation responsibilities in Singapore. However, as Singapore’s civil aviation industry developed and with the opening of the S$1.5 billion
Changi Airport in 1981, it became clear that the department had to have flexibility and authority to handle rapid changes and technological improvements in the aviation industry as well as maintain the growing international airport and the competitiveness of Singapore’s civil aviation industry. It was known that large international airports such as Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport, Germany’s Frankfurt Airport, Paris’s Charles De Gaulle Airport, Tokyo’s Narita Airport, London’s Heathrow Airport and New York’s J. F. Kennedy Airport were better managed because they were run as statutory bodies or commercial organisations.5

Launch ceremony and logo
CAAS was launched in a ceremony held at Changi Airport Terminal 1 on 1 September 1984. The event was officiated by then Minister for Culture Yeo Ning Hong, who unveiled two sculptures in the terminal that were collectively called the “Spirit of Man”.6
The deep blue CAAS logo was unveiled about a year later by Yeo on 21 July 1985.7

First CAAS board
The first CAAS board was chaired by Sim Kee Boon, chairman of Keppel Shipyard. The other members were Permanent Secretary (Communications) Lam Chuan Leong, director-general of Civil Aviation Lim Hock San, chairman of Mobil Singapore Dorsey Dunn, managing director of Dresdner (Southeast Asia) Heinz Guenter Jungjohann, assistant general-secretary of the National Trades Union Congress secretariat Othman bin Haron Eusofe, chairman of Singapore Tourism Promotion Board and Sentosa Development Corporation, Tan I Tong, deputy commander of the Republic of Singapore Air Force Colonel Michael Teo Eng Cheng, director of Public Works Yap Neng Chew, and chairman of Telecommunication Authority of Singapore Frank Yung.8

Developing Changi Airport
Following the establishment of CAAS, the management of Changi Airport came under its purview.9
CAAS ensured that facilities and infrastructure at the airport were complete and comprehensive and its services efficient and reliable so that Changi remained as one of the best airports in the world. CAAS also set competitive prices and increased the range of products available in airport shops to make shopping at Changi attractive to travellers.10

To keep up with the growth of civil aviation worldwide, CAAS continued to expand Changi’s flight connections network and took charge of the then ongoing construction of the airport’s Terminal 2.11 CAAS also organised staff training programmes through the Singapore Aviation Academy to ensure that airport personnel were up to date with the latest in aviation safety, air traffic control and airport management.12

Shaun Oon & Lim Tin Seng

1.Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore, Annual Report 1984–1985 (Singapore: Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore, 1985), 4. (Call no. RCLOS 387.7095957 CAASAR-[AR])
2. Tommy Koh et al., eds., Singapore: The Encyclopedia (Singapore: Editions Didier Millet and National Heritage Board, 2006), 130. (Call no. RSING 959.57003 SIN-[HIS])
3. Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore, Annual Report 1984–1985, 6.
4. Koh et al., Singapore: The Encyclopedia, 130.
5. “Aviation Seeks New Heights,” Straits Times, 2 September 1984, 13. (From NewspaperSG)
6. “Aviation Seeks New Heights.”
7. “Dr Yeo Lauds SIA, Changi Airport's Achievements,” Straits Times, 22 July 1985, 8. (From NewspaperSG)
8. “Kee Boon to Head Aviation Authority,” Straits Times, 2 September 1984, 13. (From NewspaperSG)
9. Koh et al., Singapore: The Encyclopedia, 130.
10. Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore, Annual Report 1984–1985, 5.
11. Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore, Annual Report 1984–1985, 4–5.
12. Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore, Annual Report 1984–1985, 22; Koh et al., Singapore: The Encyclopedia, 130.

The information in this article is valid as of 3 April 2014 and correct as far as we are able to ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history of the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic.


Government agencies
Politics and Government