By Will Lee
Singapore’s Changi Airport Shows Signs of Recovery
Singapore’s aviation sector is like no other in Asia, and its Changi Airport has seen the sign of rebounding after two years of the pandemic. The Asian vibrant hub announced that it had handled 7.33 million passengers in the second quarter (from April to June) of 2022. It comes after Singapore Airlines revealed its big surge in passenger numbers in the first quarter of 2022-23.
The latest figures for the second quarter of the year have shown 43.6% of 2019 and a traffic 14 times higher than the same time last year. The performance of the American market was remarkably good during the second quarter, the passenger traffic to and from American cities has exceeded pre-pandemic levels by 7.13%. This is attributed to the additional flights to Canada since last December. Other markets such as Europe, Oceania, and South Asia also have seen a recovery, reaching over 60% of 2019 traffic levels.
However, airfreight movements have reached 469,000 tonnes, dropping by 1.4% on a year-on-year basis.
“We are encouraged by the steady increase in passenger traffic as it is a sign that we are getting back on the trajectory of growth toward pre-pandemic levels.” Ching-Kiat Lim, Changi Airport Group’s Managing Director for Air Hub Development said.
Changi revealed it had handled 2.93 million passengers in June, posting 50.3% of pre-pandemic levels. Comparing this figure to those reported by neighboring airports, we can see that Kuala Lumpur recorded traffic at 30% of 2019 levels, and Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport at 35%.
Singaporean government’s policies have been paving the way for its rebound, the aviation sector has seen a gradual recovery since 2022. Since the country reopened its border on Apr. 1 Changi has welcomed three new airlines, including Thailand’s Thai Vietjet, Vietnam’s Bamboo Airways, and South Korea’s low-cost carrier T’way. According to Changi, 85 airlines operate over 4,400 weekly scheduled flights as of Jul. 1.
After reopening Terminal Two, as a result of the surge in travel demand, Changi has announced its Terminal Four will resume its operation on Sep. 13 after two years hiatus. The airport forecasts Terminal Four can meet the increasing demand and support airlines to launch more flights. Changi announced some airlines will move to Terminal Four: Cathay Pacific and Korean Air will move on Sep.13, becoming the first two airlines to move to the newly-reopened terminal. However, the airport’s new terminal scheme is not for everyone.
According to local media, Jetstar Asia, the no-frills carrier, has “no intention of moving” to Terminal Four due to its code-sharing arrangement with other carriers. Jetstar is currently operating at Terminal One which provides better connectivity and the carrier believes the relocation will impact on its passengers, staff and operations. Changi said the Jetstar is scheduled to move on Oct. 25.