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6th busiest world airport continues to grow

Written by editor

Handling almost 55 million passengers a year, Changi International Airport is the sixth busiest airport in the world for international traffic, now serving around 320 cities across 80 countries throug

Handling almost 55 million passengers a year, Changi International Airport is the sixth busiest airport in the world for international traffic, now serving around 320 cities across 80 countries through the operations of more than 100 airlines.

In the last month the airport has welcomed new links from Batik Air to Jakarta, Thai Lion Air to Bangkok, Myanmar National Airlines to Yangon and increased capacity from Tiger Airways to Ipoh and Thai Lion Air to Bangkok. Later this month Tiger Airways will launch a three times weekly flight to Quanzhou.

The network growth will continue from the start of the new schedules in late October with an Air China service to Yinchuan; Malindo Air to Penang; Jetstar Asia to Palembang and Pekanbaru and Scoot to Melbourne, while Singapore Airlines will boost frequencies to Mumbai. By year-end Jetstar Asia would have also added flights to Danang; Singapore Airlines to Sapporo and Tiger Airways to Lucknow.

Changi Airport Group expects further connectivity development across the region, particularly to north and southeast Asia to remain the main markets for growth at Singapore’s international airport gateway over the coming year as it completes the next stage in its infrastructure.

Speaking to Routesonline on the sidelines of the World Routes network development forum in Durban, South Africa, Lim Ching Kiat, Changi’s senior vice president of market development said the airport will celebrate the nation’s 50th anniversary of independence in a strong position with growth levels returning to good levels over the past couple of months.

“Things had slowed a little and the rate of growth at Changi had slipped in 2014 following a few years of good growth. This can be attributed to regional airline struggles and impact of a difficult year for air safety across Asia,” explained the executive.

“However, we seem to have now put these issues behind us and recently reported a 6.8 per cent growth in passenger movements in July 2015 and although the August data has not yet been confirmed, it looks to be within a similar range,” he added.

Looking ahead, Lim sees a growth in services to secondary markets, particularly tier two and three cities. “We see a lot of incoming flights from provincial cities in China with the strong visitor spend associated with these markets good for us and the destination,” he said, noting that Australia had development potential.

The airport is also hoping to secure a regular link to the recently announced Routes Asia 2017 host, Okinawa. “We have tested this market during the early part of 2015,” confirmed Lim. This was through a series of 14 charter flights. “We hope this showed enough for us to develop this into a scheduled operation in the future.”

To support its growth, Changi Airport will open its new Terminal 4 in 2017. Construction works are progressing well with the terminal building with more than 70 per cent completed. The facility is based on the site of the former budget terminal, approximately two kilometres away from its three existing terminals.

The airport has already confirmed that Cathay Pacific will use the new facility and added in recent weeks that low-cost carriers from the AirAsia Group – AirAsia Berhad, Indonesia AirAsia and Thai AirAsia – and full-service carriers Korean Air and Vietnam Airlines will also be based there.