Singapore is reportedly planning to invest billions of dollars to upgrade Changi Airport’s air traffic management system as part of a plan to boost aviation safety and security in the country.

The planned investment, which will be provided over the next few decades, will also focus on other improvements related to air traffic management systems.

Speaking at an industry conference in Beijing, Singapore Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan said that the current air traffic management system, which cost more than $300m, started functioning in 2013.

He added that the country has already started working to develop its next generation to avoid obsolescence.

Singapore invests heavily in air traffic management capabilities as it manages air traffic in one of the busiest and most complex blocks of airspace across the globe.

Apart from investing in hardware, Singapore is investing in the recruitment and training of air traffic controllers.

At present, the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore employs approximately 400 to 450 air traffic controllers and plans to increases the headcount by about 700 by 2030.

Khaw told The Straits Times: “We also work with ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organisation) to make such training courses available to aviation professionals in other ICAO member states. We are mindful that safer skies ultimately benefit all.”

“Air traffic management today is largely fragmented. This results in inefficiencies, longer flight times, and higher costs for airlines,” he told the publication.

The minister said that the governments should take the lead in integrating airspace and optimising its use to fully realise the benefits of air traffic growth.

Last month, Changi Airport Group unveiled its S$1.7bn ($1.2bn) retail and lifestyle development known as Jewel Changi Airport. The tourist destination covers a total area of 137,000m² and is home to more than 280 shops and food and beverage outlets.