Serving in the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) as a Flight Line Crew (FLC) and Dedicated Crew Chief (DCC), I have developed a fascination for aviation and in particular, military aviation. I had the opportunity to work on the Lockheed Martin-manufactured F-16 Fighting Falcon Block 52 D+ fighter jet. Apart from getting myself acquainted with the ins and outs of the jet, refueling the jet encompassed a small albeit important part of my duties. Aviation is certainly an energy-intensive industry.
The sheer force with which an engine afterburner can provide sufficient thrust for flight coupled with the fact that the F16 travels at supersonic speeds to allow pilots to withstand forces as great as 9Gs, are a testament to the forces the F16 can both exert and withstand.
I started to wonder, however, just how energy-intensive is the aviation industry in general? Are there regulations in place to ensure energy efficiency in the industry? What progress has engineering made to allow the use of cleaner fuels by planes?
Singapore Airlines, our nation airline, has committed1 to undertaking energy-saving practices to “reduce fuel consumption and emissions include various initiatives such as flight operations enhancements, engineering performance and maintenance improvements, and weight saving measures.”
Legislation can also be enacted to ensure compliance on the part of transport operators. Airport service operators can be required to meet different minimum energy efficiency standards before being qualified as transport facility operators, for instance. In Singapore, the Energy Conservation (Transport Facility Operators) Order 20132 puts this to effect.
In 2006, the Ministry of Trade and Industry reported3 that Singapore, in spite of being an aviation hub, has “energy intensity is roughly on par for an economy of its level of development.”
Questions remain. I look forward to seeking these answers in the near future.
 Singapore Airlines. (2012). Environmental Report 2011/2012. Singapore: Singapore Airlines. Retrieved from http://www.singaporeair.com/pdf/media-centre/report2012.pdf.
 Energy Conservation (Transport Facility Operators) Order 2013.
 Ministry of Trade and Industry. (2006). Economic Survey of Singapore 3rd Quarter 2006. Singapore: Government of Singapore. Retrieved from http://www.mti.gov.sg/ResearchRoom/Documents/app.mti.gov.sg/data/article/5901/doc/ESS_2006Q3_EnergyIntensity.pdf.