Beyond Terminal 4, still ways for Singapore to soar as aviation hub

SINGAPORE: By 2035, the Asia-Pacific region is set to account for over three billion air passengers per year, boosted by Asia’s rising middle class.

It would be a boon to Singapore, which has cemented its position as one of the world’s leading aviation hubs.

Changi Airport has won the accolade of World’s Best Airport for a fifth year running but competition is growing.

According to the CAPA Centre for Aviation, about US$1 trillion is expected to be spent on new airports and upgrades worldwide, even as regional airports expand and upgrade their infrastructure to meet this growth.

The passenger check-in area at Changi Airport Terminal 4. (Photo: Kenneth Lim)

Still, experts say there are several reasons why Changi Airport could maintain its lofty position.

“Airports have to be safe, airports have to be cost-efficient in terms of airlines who want to land here, compared to the cost elsewhere,” says Dr Tan Khee Giap, co-director of the Asia Competitiveness Institute, a Harvard University Institute for Strategy and Competitiveness affiliated think-thank.

“And airports – you have to give people a very good experience. These are three important attributes that we have, and not many airports can duplicate that.”

The new US$985 million, two-storey Terminal Four is the latest jewel in Changi Airport’s crown. In 2016, Changi Airport handled a record 58.7 million passengers – about eight per cent more than the year before. With a capacity of about 16 million passengers, T4 will bring the airport’s overall annual capacity to 82 million passengers.

“It opens up another level of volume that this region can take,” said Mr Graham Pickett, Deloitte UK’s global head of aviation and travel.

“We really want to build our capacity ahead of demand and in fact that’s Changi’s planning principle,” said T4 programme management vice president Poh Li San.

Automation is also touted as one of T4’s…

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