By Press ’21
This is Part 2 of our coverage on Press’ learning journey to Seletar Aerospace Park. The tour was conducted by Xperience DMC. You can access Part 1 here.
31 March 2021 marked the first time Raffles Press has gone out on a Prexcursion (Press Excursion) since COVID-19 became our reality. There was a palpable sense of excitement as the Year 6s climbed on board the two minibuses, along with our tour guides and our teacher-in-charge, Mr Wong, who organised the whole tour for us. Before we knew it, we were whisked away to Seletar.
The last stop on our learning journey was a visit to the WingsOverAsia hangar and lounge, which was, as our guide and flight instructor Mr Justin Chua explained to us, a private holding facility and temporary stopover point for non-commercial aircraft.
As much a lounge and entertainment facility as it is a holding point for aircraft, WingsOverAsia boasts a wide range of aviation-themed attractions, including a refreshing air-conditioned lounge that serves chilled drinks and tidbits which, after a hot day in the sun, we were more than grateful for. The lobby also hosts a crafting workshop that recycles old aircraft parts by turning them into new furniture, some of which was displayed at the facility’s café.
WingsOverAsia provides its clients hangar space and other services including plane maintenance and cleaning so that the riders have a seamless experience landing and carrying out their desired activities.
While the operations of WingsOverAsia sounded relatively uncomplicated at first (Mr Chua even quipped that it was akin to a carpark for the uber-rich), as we proceeded to observe the workings of the hangar, we found that the staff had to be incredibly acquainted with the construction and design of different types of aircraft. As Mr Chua explained, in addition to housing personal and medical aircraft, WingsOverAsia also assists with aircraft lavatory cleaning services by cleaning the aircraft’s septic tank using a unique blend of deodoriser and disinfectant.
Due to the pandemic and the resultant precipitous drop in air travel, WingsOverAsia opened its doors for members of the public to view the hangar space and the lounge facilities provided. Us students, for one, had fun pretending to live the lives of the rich, albeit for a few hours.
While it may be hard to sympathise with spaces meant for the already privileged, the pandemic has hurt their business model quite a bit and allowing the public to view such hangar spaces is a case of effective business diversification.
For our final activity at Seletar Airbase, we lined up to take a photo with a retired aircraft parked on the roof of the WingsOverAsia complex, with the vast expanse of Seletar Airbase stretching out behind us. As we looked at the seemingly endless expanse of land that housed the Seletar Wetlands, the old and new airports and so many more iconic landmarks, we each reflected on the learning journey that we had just gone through. What we initially thought would be a routine visit to one of Singapore’s industrial and transportation zones turned out to be an enriching and eye-opening experience for us all.