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Singapore Changi Airport or simply Changi Airport is a major aviation hub in Asia, particularly in the Southeast Asian region, and is the main airport in Singaporemarker. Located in Changimarker on a site of , it is about north-east from the commercial centre.

The airport is operated by the Changi Airport Group and is the home base of Singapore Airlines, Singapore Airlines Cargo, SilkAir, Tiger Airways, Jetstar Asia Airways, Valuair, and Jett8 Airlines Cargo. It is a hub for Garuda Indonesia and a secondary hub for Qantas, which uses Singapore as the main stopover point for flights on the Kangaroo Route between Australia and Europe, the latter being the largest foreign airline to operate from the airport with over two million passengers handled annually As of April 2008, there are about 4,340 weekly flights operated by 80 airlines to over 130 cities in 59 countries. An important contributor to the Singapore economy, 13,000 people are employed at the airport. The airport accounts for over S$4.5 billion in output.

In 2007, the airport handled a record 36,701,556 passengers, a 4.8% increase over the 2006 fiscal year. This made it the 19th busiest airport in the world and the fifth busiest in Asia by passenger traffic in 2007. In addition to being an important passenger traffic hub, the airport is one of the busiest cargo airports in the world, handling 1.89 million tons of cargo in 2007. Incentives like the Air Hub Development Fund, first introduced in 2003, have proven effective in attracting airlines here. A new S$300 million fund to strengthen Changi's hub status will start in 2007 when the S$210 million fund expires in 2006. The new S$1.75 billion Terminal 3 opened on 9 January 2008, and Terminal 1 will be upgraded along the lines of the renovated Terminal 2, with the latter costing S$240 million. Changi has been courting both premium and budget travellers with the opening of a commercially important persons terminal by JetQuay and a S$45 million Budget Terminal in 2006.

Since its opening in 1981, the airport has made its mark in the aviation industry as a benchmark for service excellence, winning over 280 awards in a 20-year period from 1987 to 2007, including 19 Best Airport awards in 2007 alone. Changi Airport's efforts to counter the onset of age include periodic physical upgrades to its existing terminals, building of new facilities and taking steps to provide a high level of customer service.


Growth in the global aviation transport was felt in Singapore, where Singapore International Airportmarker at Paya Lebar, Singapore's third main civilian airport after Seletar Airportmarker (main airport from 1930-37, still in use today for private aviation and limited commercial flights) and Kallang Airportmarker (1937-55), was facing congestion problems. Opened in 1955 with a single runway and a small passenger terminal, its inability to cope with the rising traffic became critical by the 1970s; annual passenger numbers rose dramatically from 300,000 to 1,700,000 in 1970 and to 4,000,000 in 1975.

The government had two options available: expand the existing airport at Paya Lebar or build a completely new airport at another location. After extensive study, a decision was made in 1972 to keep the airport at Paya Lebar as recommended by a British aviation consultant. Plans were created for the building of a second runway and an extensive redevelopment and expansion to the passenger terminal building. A year later, however, the plans were reviewed again due to the 1973 oil crisis.

Concerned that the existing airport was located in an area with potential for urban growth which would physically hem it in on all sides and limit its physical growth, the government subsequently decided in 1975 to build a new airport at the eastern tip of the main island at Changi at the site of Changi Air Basemarker that was renamed from RAF Changimarker post-independence, and in turn renamed Changi Airbase marker, where the new airport would be easily expandable by land reclamation. However, the airport still had to be expanded during that period of time as there was an increase in traffic at that time. In addition, airplanes could fly over the sea, avoiding noise pollution issues within residential areas like those at Paya Lebar and helping to avoid disastrous consequences on the ground in the event of an air mishap. The airport in Paya Lebar was subsequently converted for military use as the Paya Lebar Airbasemarker.


Departure hall of Terminal 1
Panaromic view from Changi Airport Terminal 1 - Gate 5
The airport was one of the largest single development projects in Singapore's history. Led by PSA chairman Howe Yoon Chong, land-reclamation works involving over of landfill and seafill began in June 1975, even as the airport at Paya Lebar was still in the midst of expansion works. About of swamp land was cleared and filled with of earth from the nearby hills, while another of sand from the seabed were used to reclaim land. The contractor was PentaOcean Construction (五洋建設), a Japanese construction firm directly involved in numerous land reclamation projects in Singapore. Canals were built to drain water from three rivers, Sungei Tanah Merah Besar, Sungei Ayer Gemuroh and Sungei Mata Ikan. In total, were reclaimed, raising the total site area to . Of this, landfill accounted for while seafill represented . The construction also demolished 558 buildings, exhuming around 4,100 graves, a gun emplacement at Changi, and diverting the three streams to the western side of the former Royal Air Force runway, which was to be used for the new runway. All of these works were completed in May 1977. From 1977 to 1979, it was used to pile-drive the foundation of Terminal 1 and other buildings as well. The foundation stone for Terminal 1 was laid in August 1979. The high control tower is built on reclaimed land, with its design becoming an icon for the airport. The original name of the control tower was "Airtropolis", but was seldom used. The column-free hangar with an area almost as large as the Padangmarker could hold three Boeing 747s. Its roof was constructed in Batammarker, and was shipped to Singapore in four separate sections by barge. A special jetty was built on the coast to obtain fuel from the Western Islands by shipping it round the coast. The fuel is pumped for a mile to the airport fuel station run by six oil companies on the north-eastern perimeter. The pipelines then leads to all the parking bays through a pipe some below ground level.

The first phase costing about S$1.3 billion opened on 1 July 1981 with the first flight, Singapore Airlines Flight 101, touching down at 0700 hours Zulu with 140 passengers from Kuala Lumpurmarker. Officially opened with much fanfare five months later on 29 December 1981 by Howe Yoon Chong, the airport had 34 airlines operating 1,200 scheduled flights each week connecting Singapore to 67 cities in 43 countries. It ended its first year operations with 8.1 million passengers, 193,000 tonnes of air freight handled and 63,100 aircraft movements.

Despite the airport opening in 1981, some sections were not fully completed. The big aircraft hangar was only completed in 1982, and the first runway was fully completed only in 1983. This was the year in which the now defunct government department, the Public Works Department decided to focus on the construction of the second runway on the reclaimed land east of the Terminal 1. The sections of phase 2 opened progressively over the next few years with the completion of a second runway as well as other facilities. In 1985, the construction work on Terminal 2 started, south of Terminal 1. Terminal 2 was completed in 1989, and was opened in November 1990 with its official opening on 1 June 1991 by Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong. The opening of the second terminal was way ahead of passenger demand.


The airport has a development policy of always building years ahead of demand to help to avoid congestion problems common in major airports and maintain high service standards. While the original master plan details plans for two passenger terminals, there have been provisions to provide for long-term expansion initiatives, including the allocation of space for a third terminal planned to have a physical configuration mirroring that of Terminal 2.

Construction of this terminal, Terminal 3, began in 1999, at an estimated cost of about S$1.75 billion. Originally planned for completion in 2006, the date was postponed by two years after global terrorism concerns delayed growth of air traffic in the airport. On 30 May 2006, a topping out ceremony for the terminal was conducted, and an open house was held from 12 November 2007 to 9 December 2007. Test flights were held from 12 November until 3 January where the baggage handling, check-in and ground handling systems were tested. The terminal became operational on 9 January 2008 with Singapore Airlines (SQ1) from San Francisco, Californiamarker via Hong Kong being the first flight to arrive at the new terminal at 1156 local time (0356 UTC) and SQ318 at 1315 local time (0515 UTC) being the first departing flight. The terminal increases the airport's maximum passenger capacity annually by 22 million, bringing the total annual capacity up to 70 million passengers. Also, there is a new full-service nine-story Crowne Plaza Hotel immediately adjacent to Terminal 3.

Changing needs in the aviation industry led to reviews in the master plan, resulting in the decision to cater to the high-end as well as budget sectors of the air travel industry. Although the pioneering airport to conceptualise and construct a Budget Terminal in Asia, it became operational on 26 March 2006 a few days after the opening of a similar terminal in Kuala Lumpurmarker, and was officially opened on 31 October 2006. A dedicated stand-alone "Commercially Important Person" (CIP) terminal operated by JetQuay, started operations on 15 August 2006 and officially opened on 29 September 2006. It is the first luxury airport terminal in Asia.

Even as new terminals are being built, the airport continuously upgrades and expands its existing terminals. Terminal 1 went through its first major refurbishment in 1995 at a cost of S$170 million, prior to the commencement of expansion works a year later to add 14 aerobridges at a cost of S$420 million, which was completed in 1999. Terminal 2 was similarly expanded almost immediately after its opening in 1990, with the addition of two piers of aerobridges costing S$330 million and completed in 1996. In 2002, work commenced on the new Changi Airport Skytrain as well as the Terminal 2 building, and on 13 September 2006, the airport marked the completion of an extensive upgrade costing S$240 million in Terminal 2, which included an updated glass-fronted facade, interior decor, and terminal layout modifications.

With the impending arrival of the Airbus A380, the airport put into place modifications works costing S$60 million, which it has planned for since the late 1990s. These included the building of 19 gates capable of handling the large aircraft, eight of which are in Terminal 3. Baggage claim carousels, runways, and taxiways were expanded, and two new freighter aircraft stands and two remote aircraft parking stands built. Two aircraft taxiway bridges spanning Airport Boulevard leading to the terminals also had shields installed on either side to shield the road from the jet blast. On 11 November 2005, the airport became the first outside Europe to receive the A380 for airport compatibility verification tests, and was the first in the world to have an operational triple-passenger loading bridge fit for trials.

Extensive upgrading works in Terminal 1 similar in scale to the recently completed works at Terminal 2 commenced in September 2007. Resurfacing works costing S$50m on its dual runways and older taxiways will also be conducted. Terminal 3 was tested in 2007 to prepare for its 2008 opening. Changi Airport will also continue to improve the security systems of Changi Airport such as access controls and surveillance systems to make the airport safer for travellers. Transport Minister Raymond Lim also added that the "software" of the airport had to be improved as well.

In 2006, a short runway was opened for Changi Airbase marker on the site, an interim measure in preparation for its eventual expansion for passenger flights. It will be the first element in what may double the area of the existing airport in the next few decades.

On 6 March 2008, Minister of State for Transport Lim Hwee Hua informed Parliament that Terminal 4 would be a confirmed expansion to Changi Airport. Details have not been released yet, but there is speculation that the new terminal could be located next to the airport's third runway, which is currently used for Republic of Singapore Air Force jets. Mrs. Lim also added that the budget terminal, which has handled 2.9 million passengers since it first opened in March 2006, would be expanding at a cost of S$10m. It will add seven more check-in counters and three additional boarding gates as the budget terminal prepares to serve up to nine airlines later in 2008. Today, the budget terminal is connected to 20 cities in the region—up from 12 in 2006—by two low-cost carriers which form about 10 percent of Changi's passenger traffic.

Growth in Traffic and Connectivity at Singapore Changi Airport
Airlines 1981 1990 2005/2006
Passenger Movements 8.1 million 15.6 million 32.4 million (2005)
Airfreight Movements 193,000 tonnes 623,800 tonnes 1.83 million tonnes(2005)
Country Links 43 53 57 (Jun 2006)
City Links 67 111 >180 (Jun 2006)
Scheduled Airlines 34 52 82 (Jun 2006)
Weekly Scheduled Flights About 1,200 About 2,000 >4,100 (Jun 2006)

Accidents and incidents

  • 25 March 1991: Singapore Airlines Flight 117, an Airbus A310 that departed from Kuala Lumpur, was hijacked by four men en route to Singapore. The hijackers wanted the plane refuelled so that they could fly to Australia. When the plane landed in Singapore, commandos stormed the flight, killing the four Pakistani hijackers.

  • 11 October 2007: A Palestinian stowaway, Osama R.M. Shublaq, fell out of the undercarriage of Singapore Airlines Flight 119 from Kuala Lumpur. Airport police arrested him and deported him back to Malaysiamarker a week later.


Passenger terminal buildings
Floor area
Handling capacity c. 70 million passengers
Parking bays 92 (aerobridge)

10 (contact)

42 (remote)
Terminal One
Opened 1 July 1981 (operational)

29 December 1981 (official)
Floor area
Handling capacity 21 million passengers
Parking bays 29 (aerobridge)

16 (remote)
Terminal Two
Opened 22 November 1990 (operational)

1 June 1991 (official)
Floor area
Handling capacity 23 million passengers
Parking bays 35 (aerobridge)

11 (remote)
Terminal Three
Opened 9 January 2008 (operational)

25 July 2008 (official)
Floor area
Handling capacity 22 million passengers
Parking bays 28 (aerobridge)
Terminal Four
Opened To Be Confirmed
Floor area To Be Confirmed}
Handling capacity To Be Confirmed
Parking bays To Be Confirmed
Budget Terminal
Opened 26 March 2006 (operational)

31 October 2006 (official)
Floor area
Handling capacity 4 million passengers
Parking bays 10 (contact)
JetQuay (CIP Terminal)
Opened 15 August 2006 (operational)

29 September 2006 (official)
Floor area
Handling capacity
Parking bays 0

Given limited land resources in Singapore, the airport was designed for both current and future needs as the country's primary airport. The airport was designed to be capable of doubling in size using reclaimed land with enough space for two more runways and at least two new passenger terminal buildings.

The master plan for the existing airport initially involved a dual-terminal and dual-runway configuration over two phases with provisions for another two passenger terminals in the near future. Phase 1 included the construction for the first passenger terminal, the first runway, 45 aircraft parking bays, support facilities and structures, including a large maintenance hangar, the first fire station, workshops and administrative offices, an airfreight complex, two cargo agents' buildings, in-flight catering kitchens and a control tower. Construction for the second phase would commence immediately after the completion of Phase 1 and include the second runway, 23 additional aircraft parking bays, a second fire station and a third cargo agents' building.

Air traffic control tower

The Air traffic control tower (ATC) was constructed as part of Phase One of the Changi Airport redevelopment plan.


Changi Airport has two parallel runways, 02L/20R and 02C/20C, each wide and long. 02L/20R was completed and opened in 1981 as part of the airport's first phase. It has a displaced threshold of leaving the rest of the runway at long. 02C/20C, formerly 02R/20L, was built completely on reclaimed land and opened with phase 2, apart from 02L/20R. Four instrument landing systems (ILS) are installed on the 2 runways to guide landing aircraft safely under all weather conditions.

A new parallel runway 02R/20L (named 01/19 when opened in 2004) was built to the east of 02C/20C, currently used only by Republic of Singapore Air Force aircraft as part of Changi Airbase (East). The new runway is expected to be extended and eventually be turned into a third runway for the airport in future expansion plans.

Passenger terminals

Changi Airport currently has five terminals. Terminals 1, 2 and 3 are directly connected with a common transit area, with airside passengers being able to freely move between the terminals without going through immigration. Transport within and between these three terminals is provided by people movers and the skytrain system, although it is also possible to walk between the terminals on foot for landside visitors. Situated beside Terminal 2 is JetQuay, which has its own check-in facilities for premium passengers and where transportation to aircraft in any of the other terminals is by personal buggy. The Budget Terminal, purpose-built for low-cost carriers, is physically separated from the main terminals towards the south, where connections are possible via a zero-fare shuttle bus service to Terminal 2. All five terminals currently have a handling capacity of c. 70 million passengers a year spread over an area of . Capacity will rise again to 73 million passengers a year when expansion works to the Budget Terminal are complete by early 2009.

Changi Airport, with all five terminals now cater to all spectrum of passengers. The Budget Teminal is for those cost conscious passengers, Terminal 1, 2, and 3, take care of the bulk of the travelers, and the JetQuay CIP terminal target those who demand luxury when travelling.

Terminal 1

Swimming pool within the transit area of Terminal 1
Singapore Changi Airport's oldest terminal operated as the sole terminal from its opening on 1 July 1981 right up till the opening of Terminal 2 nine years later. Configured in a H-shaped layout to maximise the number of aerobridges which may be built, it underwent two major upgrading works over its lifespan. A major refurbishment was completed in 1995 at a cost of S$170 million and work to extend two finger piers to add 14 aerobridges at a cost of S$420 million took place from 1996 to 1999. Today, the terminal spans an area of 280,020 m² and can accommodate a maximum passenger capacity of 21 million passengers a year.

Plans to launch a new round of upgrading were in the pipeline, with Takenaka Corporation winning the contract to conduct the works from May 2008 to 2011. Costing S$500 million, it will be the terminals' biggest overhaul to date, involving works on its facade and halls under a theme called "Tropical City". Once completed, it will be the final Terminal to be upgraded to be on par with the newest Terminal 3, and the recently upgraded Terminal 2.

Terminal 2

The Departure Hall of Terminal 2
Terminal 2 opened on 22 November 1990 as part of Phase II in the original airport masterplan. Deploying a linear configuration parallel to the runways, it is located adjacent to Terminal 1 towards the south, and heralded the opening of the original skytrain system linking the two terminals via the landside. All Singapore Airlines and SilkAir flights shifted to the new terminal when it opened, along with several Southeast Asian carriers including Malaysian Airlines, Philippine Airlines and Royal Brunei Airlines. They were joined by several airlines, some of which are allied to Singapore Airlines, in particular Lufthansamarker, both fellow Star Alliance members. Air France was a former user before moving back to Terminal 1. Other former users include Air Canada and Austrian Airlines, as well as it ceased operations to Changi in October 2006. Etihad Airways was the latest airline to operate from Terminal 2 when it commenced flights in September 2007. All Nippon Airways moved to Terminal 2 from 1 October 2008.

Terminal 2 is split into four sections with gate numbers carrying the letter of their section. The terminal hosts a cinema and a Burger King as well as countless number of shops. The centrepiece is the indoor garden. The terminal also has an outdoor rooftop garden and a technology section showcasing the world's largest plasma screen. The carpets are green and the gate information is displayed on LCD screens. Security checks must be completed prior to entering the gate.

Terminal 3

Transit area of Terminal 3
Butterfly garden, Terminal 3
Terminal 3 became operational on 9 January 2008, increasing the airport's annual passenger capacity by 22 million. The terminal has 28 aerobridge gates, with eight capable of handling the Airbus A380. While the other 2 terminals use separate waiting areas for different gates, Terminal 3 has common waiting areas for some of the gates.

Designed by CPG Corporation, with Skidmore, Owings and Merrill designing the roof feature and interior design by Woodhead Wilson, Terminal 3 departs from the largely utilitarian architecture in the first two terminals. Like other new airports in the region, it has a structure mainly made of glass, with big transparent spaces inside the terminal. However, unlike these newer airports, it incorporates "natural" features and "warm" tone extensively to balance the sterile feel of glass and steel. For example, the column is given a wood-like cladding and the floor of the terminal is mostly cream/ beige colour. The roof has been designed to allow natural light to enter the building, with 919 skylights. A -high "Green Wall" with hanging creepers and waterfall was incorporated to enhance the tropical feel. The Green Wall, designed by Singapore based Landscape Design firm Tierra Design, also helps to regulate the internal temperature of the terminal with the occasional misting. The interior architecture of Terminal 3 recently won the Honour Award from ASLA, bringing another coveted award to Changi Airport.

Singapore Airlines operated the first flights into Terminal 3 on 9 January 2008, with flight SQ001 from San Francisco via Hong Kong arriving at 1150 hours to a welcome ceremony by Minister for Transport and Second Minister for Foreign Affairs, Lim Siang Keat Raymond and the chairman of CAAS, Liew Mun Leong. The first departure flight, SQ318, took off at 1250 hours bound for London-Heathrow. Since then, its regional and long-haul flights bound for North America (except Houstonmarker), Europe (excluding Moscow), East Asia (excluding flights to Japan routed through Bangkokmarker) and Oceania depart from the new terminal while all other flights depart from Terminal 2, becoming the first and only airline to operate from multiple terminals in Changi Airport. While the departure terminal is fixed depending on destination, the terminal to be used by each arriving flight has to be confirmed two hours prior to arrival, causing cases of confusion amongst the travelling public, although a CAAS spokesman said that the confusion has since been relatively mitigated due to greater public awareness of the arrangement.

Star Alliance carriers, which includes Singapore Airlines, are likely to move to Terminal 3 subsequently. Four airlines confirmed their move to the new terminal from 26 March 2008, although China Eastern Airlines and United Airlines began the move on the night of 25 March 2008. China Eastern Airlines's first arrival flight to Terminal 3, MU545, landed at 2126 hours from Shanghai-Pudong, while United Airlines's first Terminal 3 flight UA895 flew in from Atlanta via Chicago and Hong Kong at 2310 hours. UA803 soon followed from Washington DC via Tokyo-Narita at 2353 hours. On 26 March 2008, Qatar Airways flew its first Terminal 3 flight from Jakarta-Soekarno-Hatta at 0120 hours on QR627, while Jet Airways's flight 9W12 arrived at 0725 hours from Mumbai. China Eastern Airlines flew its first departure flight, MU544, to Shanghai-Pudong at 0059 hours on 26 March 2008, Qatar Airways' QR627 to Doha at 0304 hours, United Airlines' UA896 to Atlanta via Hong Kong and Chicago at 0718 hours and Jet Airways' 9W15 to Chennai departed at 0932 hours. The move added 148 return flights weekly from Singapore to 12 destinations, namely Atlanta, Chennai, Chicago, Delhi, Doha, Hong Kong, Jakarta, Kunming, Mumbai, Shanghai, Tokyo and Washington DC, increasing the number of return flights at Terminal 3 to over 900 weekly and the total number of passengers handled to about 11 million annually. Kingfisher Airlines is also slated to use Terminal 3 when they start flight operations from Singapore to Chennai.

CAAS was in talks to move other airlines to the Terminal, although several airlines expressed concern over the dedicated SIA passenger lounge and unique check-in system not open to other airlines to be introduced in Terminal 3. CAAS clarified that a common check-in system may be used by any airline in half of the Terminal space. CAAS announced that there has since been no further plans to move any airline, although it will consider requests from other airlines.

Terminal 4

The Singapore Ministry of Transport is currently working on a masterplan on Terminal 4. Aviation experts estimate the terminal will be built in the next 10 to 15 years, although the government has not released any further details on the project.

JetQuay CIP Terminal

The JetQuay Terminal was converted from the former VIP terminals that used to handle foreign dignitaries. It is a dedicated CIP(Commercially Important People) terminal that can now be used by any passenger travelling in any class, on any airline, through any of the main terminals (T1, T2, or T3). JetQuay provides private check-in, baggage handling, and immigration clearance services.

Budget Terminal

The low-cost terminal opened in March 2006.
Changi Airport was the second in Asia (after Kuala Lumpur International Airportmarker) to open a dedicated terminal catering to the budget traveller. The name of the Budget Terminal was decided as a result of a naming contest open to the public. The terminal is not included in the numbering scheme even though it is the third terminal to be opened and Terminal 3 is actually the fifth terminal opened at the airport.

In order to offer lower landing fees, handling fees and airport taxes, it cuts back on amenities such as aerobridges, elaborate physical structures and decorations in the passenger terminal building. The corridors used by arriving passengers are not air-conditioned, although the main hall and departure lounges are. A range of duty-free shops and Food and Beverage outlets, and free internet terminals are available. There is no transfer facility at the Budget Terminal. Passengers who need to make transfers need to clear immigration, collect their luggage, clear customs, make their way to the main terminal by taking the zero-fare shuttle buses and check-in again with the respective airline.

In September 2008, expansion works costing $10 million began and took seven months to complete. The terminal is now able to handle seven million passengers a year, up from originally 2.7 million. There are more boarding gates, check-in counters, shops and dining options.

Accommodating the Airbus A380

With Changi-based Singapore Airlines being the launch customer for the Airbus A380, works to ensure full capability in handling the large aircraft were given priority in time for its introduction in October 2007. The Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore spent S$60 million in upgrading the two existing terminals and airport infrastructure, including enlarged gate holdrooms, new finger piers, and extended baggage belt carousels from the normal to . With these new carousels in place, the airport does not expect embarking and disembarking passengers and baggage from the A380 to take longer than it does from a Boeing 747-400, which carries fewer passengers. On 16 August 2005, Changi Airport unveiled the first of 11 specially-built gates capable of handling the giant aircraft. Costing S$15 million, the gates or 'fingers' enable passengers to get on the upper cabin of the new 555-seater aircraft directly from the gate hold rooms. The hold rooms themselves have been enlarged and appointed to cater for the larger number of passengers flying the A380s. Beside the 11 new gates at Terminal 1 and 2, eight more A380-capable gates were opened at Terminal 3 on 9 January 2008.

Airlines and destinations

Freight/Cargo Terminal


Changi Airport is a top airport in terms of customer service and security and has won over 250 awards and accolades as best airport since its opening in 1981, from organisations such as International Air Transport Association and Business Traveller.

Passenger services

Extensive foliage in Terminal 2 provides relaxation for passengers in the transit area.
The airport has over of space spread between its three main terminals for shopping and eating outlets, with Terminal 3 having the largest amount of retail space at . Extensive upgrading work on existing retail areas since 2004 in Terminals 1 and 2 has increased sales 13.3% in the first half of 2005 year-on-year over 2004, and as much as 67% compared to the same period in 2003, with brands such as Prada, Gucci, Bulgari and Hermèsmarker opening outlets during this period. The first FIFAmarker Official Store in the world was opened in Terminal 3, along with Asia's first Ferrarimarker travel retail shop.

The designer airport is one of those anomalies where the phrase “I spent all my time in the airport” is likely to be a positive. From two different lounges with top-class 24 hour napping areas, showers and spa facilities, to hotel and pool amenities, this airport further excels itself with innovative activities such as its Singapore Tours (created for those in transit for up to 5 hours who are granted a special pass to leave the airport on one of four city tour options), Nature Trail (with six themed garden reserves) and comprehensive dining and entertainment options.

In terms of sales, the airport outstrips other shopping malls in Singapore, including those in top tourist spot Orchard Roadmarker. The Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore derives 60% of its total annual revenue (over US$500 million in the year ending March 2005) from non-aeronautical sources, with 30% from commercial space rental and a percentage of sale receipts. Liquor and perfumes are particularly popular, accounting for over half of total retail sales, followed by watches and tobacco products. The airport enjoys "one of the highest concession revenues per passenger in the world" compared to other major international airports according to Jeffrey Loke, CAAS' assistant commercial director.

In addition to a wide array of duty-free shops and eating outlets, Changi Airport has six open-air garden areas. Open to customers of the airport, each garden represents a different group of plants: cacti, bamboo, heliconia, sunflower, fern and orchid. Changi Airport has numerous business centres located around the airport. Within the international transit area of the interconnected Terminals 1 and 2, internet and games facilities, prayer rooms, showers, spas, gym, swimming pool and a hotel are provided. Various lounge areas are provided, some including children's play areas or televisions showing news, movie and sport channels.

Aviation services

Ground handling

Ground handling services are handled by three companies: Singapore Airport Terminal Services (SATS), Changi International Airport Services (CIAS) and Swissport. SATS, a subsidiary of Singapore Airlines, is the dominant player with close to 78% of the market in the airport. CIAS was formed in 1981 by the Port of Singapore Authority and five airlines (Air France, China Airlines, Garuda Indonesia, KLM (Royal Dutch Airlines) and Lufthansamarker). It handles the remaining market share.

In the early 2000s, the government decided to introduce competition into the market by offering an additional license. Swissair's Swissport successfully won the license (valid for 10 years) and commenced operations on 2 March 2005.As Swissair folded and was subsequently taken over by Swiss International Air Lines, the latter became the company's first customer. Adam Air chose Swissport as its ground handler in 2005, while Tiger Airways followed suit in 2006. Other customers of Swissport include Northwest Airlines, Swiss World Cargo, Thai AirAsia and Cardig Air. Former customers of Swissport include Australian Airlines. Swissport ceased operation on 31 March 2009 due to massive losses. Asia Pacific Star was launched on 1 April is a subsidiary of SATS is the new player concentrating mainly on budget carriers.It handles Tiger Airways, Cebu Pacific, Jetstar and possibly Valuair/Shenzhen Airlines when the latter starts operation on 1 July.

CIAS underwent restructuring when its shareholding was bought over by Dubaimarker's Dnata group and Temasek Holdings, being relaunched in June 2005 with a new branding. Its security services were amalgamated into the new Temasek-owned Aetos Security Managementmarker.

Aircraft maintenance

Five hangars house facilities to provide aircraft maintenance support by SIA Engineering Company and ST Aviation Services Company. This includes a column-free hangar which was the world's largest when opened in 1981.

Safety and security

The Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore manages the overall safety and security of the airport. The Airport Management Division of the CAAS manages the airport's security, while the Aviation Security Division oversees the airport's compliance with aviation security (AVSEC) policies, manages AVSEC-related projects, engages overseas partners and plans for business continuity in the event of a national emergency. Operationally, the airport's emergency and fire-fighting services are handled by the Airport Emergency Service Division of the CAAS Regulatory and International Group. The AES handles all instances of rescue and fire-fighting within the airport premises as well as in surrounding waters through its specialists operating from two main fire stations, a Fire Sub-Station and a Sea Rescue Base around the airport.

The airport's security comes under the purview of the Airport Police Division of the Singapore Police Forcemarker. Assisting the state organisations are the auxiliary police forces including Aetos Security Managementmarker, Certis CISCOmarker and SATS Security Services, of which Aetos and SATS Security Services are affiliated to the ground handling companies of Changi International Airport Services and Singapore Airport Terminal Services respectively. These officers man check-in counters to screen luggage, control movements into restricted areas, and so forth. CAAS has engaged the auxiliary police to enforce airside regulations since 8 February 2007, first engaging Certis CISCO followed by Aetos Security from 16 July 2007. On 29 April 2008, CAAS signed its biggest single security contract by engaging Certis CISCO to provide security services at Changi Airport, as well as Seletar Airportmarker, Changi Airfreight Centre, and the Singapore Air Traffic Control Centre. The $360 million five-year contract would commence from 1 April 2008 with an option to extend for another five years, and will involve the deployment of about 2,200 Certis Cisco personnel, including 900 armed Auxiliary Police Officers and 1,300 unarmed aviation security officers to perform taskes including scanning checked baggage, controlling access to restricted areas, and screening passengers before they board their aircraft.

Since the September 11, 2001 attacks and naming of the airport as a terrorism target by the Jemaah Islamiyah, the airport's security has been stepped up. Roving patrol teams consisting of two soldiers and a police officer, armed with assault rifles or sub-machine guns, patrol the terminals at random intervals. Officers from the Gurkha Contingentmarker are also deployed to patrol the transit areas of the terminal buildings. These measures come at a cost partly borne by travellers in the form of a "passenger security service charge," imposed since 2002. It is levied at S$6 on passengers in both main terminals and the Budget Terminal. In 2005, it became the first airport outside the United States to win the Airport Security Report's "Excellence in Airport Security Award".

In 2005, an upgrade in screening technology and rising security concerns led to luggage-screening processes being conducted behind closed-doors, as opposed to them being done just before check-in previously within public view. Carry-on luggage and persons screening are conducted at the individual departure gates, while check-in luggage are screened in the backrooms and secured before loading. Plans are in place to install over 400 cameras around the airport to monitor passenger activity around the clock and check on suspicious parcels and activity. Tenders to incorporate such a system was called in late September 2005. A second perimeter fence to prevent unauthorised persons is due for construction, to be completed by 2008. The Airport Police plans to introduce a biometric identification system for access into restricted areas.

In view of the 2006 transatlantic aircraft plot, security screening checks have been stepped up on passengers and their hand-carry luggage, as well as checked-in luggage on flights bound for destinations in the United Kingdom and the United States from Changi.


Operational Statistics
Year Passenger




1998 23,803,180 1,283,660 165,242
1999 26,064,645 1,500,393 165,961
2000 28,618,200 1,682,489 173,947
2001 28,093,759 1,507,062 179,359
2002 28,979,344 1,637,797 174,820
2003 24,664,137 1,611,407 154,346
2004 30,353,565 1,775,092 184,932
2005 32,430,856 1,833,721 204,138
2006 35,033,083 1,931,881 214,000
2007 36,701,556 1,918,159 221,000
2008 37,694,824 1,883,894 232,000

Passenger operations

As all passenger traffic out of the airport is international in nature, the four major terminals in operation are equipped with immigration-processing facilities for international travel.

After recovering from a drop in passenger traffic as a result of the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) epidemic in 2003, the airport saw rapid growth in traffic which hit the 30-million mark for the first time a year later in 2004. A monthly record was set in June 2006 with 2,980,106 passengers handled, an increase of 9.1% in its first six months of operations for 2006. The Budget Terminal handled about 657,000 passengers by 26 October 2006, six months after its opening in March, and constituted 11.3% of total flights in October 2006 compared to 9.6% in April the same year. The terminal handled its one-millionth passenger at the end of the 2006. Transit passenger traffic accounted for about 17% of total passengers handled in 2002, totalling over five million of which 400,000 contribute to the local tourism sector by travelling out of the airport.

The airport is expected to handle a total of 50 million passengers by 2012, with increases due to the opening of Integrated Resorts and other major events in Singapore, together with the phased liberalisation of the ASEAN aviation sector.


The Air Cargo Division of the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore manages the Changi Airfreight Centre located in the north of the airport premises. Fueled by high economic growth in China, the airport handled 1,854,610 tonnes of air cargo in 2005, an increase of 3.3% over the 2004 fiscal year, making it the 10th-busiest airfreight hub in the world and the fifth-busiest in Asia. Due to Singapore's large electronics sector, electrical components constitute a significant part of the total cargo traffic handled at the airport, although it has initiated attempts to diversify into the perishable air cargo market.

Relying on extensive use of Information Technology, the Air Cargo Division introduced various IT systems such as the Air Cargo EDI System (ACES), the Advance Clearance for Courier and Express Shipments System (ACCESS) and the Electronic Payment and Invoicing for Cargo (EPIC) to ease customs-clearance procedures and movement. It pioneered the TradeNet System, allowing for traders to conduct trade declarations over the Internet and accelerating the approval process by controlling authorities. TradeNet will be linked to the country-wide Integrated Trade and Logistics IT platform.

Ground transportation

Changi Airport was built with ground-transportation considerations in mind from the onset, with the East Coast Parkway built and opened in tandem with the airport, providing a direct link to the city-centre. At a distance of about , the expressway was built almost entirely on reclaimed land; thus, minimising disruptions to the existing road network in Singapore's East Coast.

While configured in a compact configuration such that the three main passenger terminal buildings are sited adjacent to each other, allowing for travellers to venture between terminals on foot, the Changi Airport Skytrain people-mover system was added to facilitate quicker and more convenient transfers. The system was upgraded in 2007 to Mitsubishi technology, connecting to Terminal 3 and separating checked-in passengers from the general public on distinct tracks. This rail system does not cover the Budget Terminal, which is served by zero-fare shuttle buses to minimise operational costs.

Inter-terminal transportation

The Changi Airport Skytrain operates between Terminals 1, 2 and 3, with a total of seven stations. The trains have separate cars for air-side (transit) and land-side (public) passengers. Initially built in the early 1990s as a shuttle between Terminals 1 and 2 using Bombardier CX-100 cars, the system was revamped to use the Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Crystal Mover in 2006 and extended to Terminal 3 in 2007. The service is free of charge and operates between 5:30 am and 2:30 am daily. Transportation is also provided to passengers and visitors between Terminal 2 and the Budget Terminal in the form of zero-fare shuttle buses. zero-fare buses are also deployed to run every 20 minutes during the non-operational hours of the Skytrain; that is, from 0230 to 0530 hours between all four terminals.

External connections

Entrance to Changi Airport MRT Station
The airport is connected to the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) network, with Changi Airport Stationmarker located underground between Terminal 2 and Terminal 3 and directly accessible from both terminals. A direct, one-train service to the downtown and western parts of Singapore was initially in operation when the station opened on 8 February 2002 (then accessible only via Terminal 2). This was replaced by the current shuttle service between Changi Airport Station and Tanah Merah Stationmarker on 22 July 2003, when it was found that few passengers actually use this route, compared to the number of commuters who need to travel from the city to Tampines and Pasir Ris. Cross-platform transfers are therefore necessary at Tanah Merah Station to connect to the rest of the network.

Buses were one of the main methods of transport for passengers and staff until the opening of the Changi Airport MRT Station. Services operated by SBS Transit and SMRT Buses use bus terminals in the basement level of the three main terminals, as well as a bus-stop along Airport Boulevard which is connected by a sheltered walkway to the Budget Terminal, making a loop starting from Terminal 3 to Terminal 1, 2, and then the Budget Terminal, and back to their destination of origin.

Service Destination Notes
SBS Transit Trunk Services
24 Ang Mo Kio Bus Interchangemarker
27 Hougang Central Bus Interchange
34 Punggol Bus Interchangemarker
36 Tomlinson Road (Loop)
53 Bishan Bus Interchangemarker
SMRT Buses Trunk Services
858 Woodlands Regional Bus Interchangemarker

Taxi stands are within the arrival halls of the three main terminals and just outside the Budget Terminal.


  1. "Speech by Mr Yeo Cheow Tong Minister for Transport, Singapore"
  2. Henry Probert (2006), The History of Changi, Changi University Press, ISBN 981-05-5580-6
  3. Remembering the Past
  4. Terminal 3
  5. Singapore boasts Asia's first 'CIP' lounge
  6. Farah Abdul Rahim, "Record numbers of passengers, cargo pass through Changi in 2006", Channel NewsAsia, 16 January 2007
  7. "New Terminal 4 for Changi Airport, S$10m expansion for Budget Terminal", Channel NewsAsia, 6 March 2008
  8. Fact Sheet on Changi Airport’s Growth (Traffic and Connectivity) and Infrastructural Developments
  9. What if Stowaway is Suicide Bomber?
  10. Singapore's Changi Airport handles record 2007 traffic
  11. [1]
  13. Takenaka Corp wins contract to upgrade Changi Airport's Terminal 1
  14. Travel Information: Singapore
  15. Singapore Changi Terminal 3 Opens
  16. Changi Airport Singapore - media releases
  17. Singapore Airlines Operates from Terminal 2 and Terminal 3
  18. The Straits Times
  19. 4 more airlines to operate from Changi Airport's T3
  20. China Eastern Airlines, Jet Airways, Qatar Airways and United Airlines Ready for Take-Off at Changi Airport Terminal 3
  21. Singapore Minister for Transport inspects Asia's first completed terminal customised for LCCs
  22. Cited Mon, Jul 07, 2008 The Straits Times
  23. Strait Times
  24. Today’s aviation environment and its strategic implications
  25. Airport Emergency Services (AES)
  26. Fire Stations
  27. CISCO to Enforce CAAS Aerodrome Rules and Regulations in the Airside of Singapore Changi Airport #2/2007
  28. CISCO to Enforce CAAS Aerodrome Rules and Regulations in the Airside of Singapore Changi Airport #10/2007
  29. CAAS signs masters security deal with CISCO
  30. Certis CISCO has been awarded a $360 million contract by the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS)
  31. Air Traffic Statistics
  32. Singapore Woos Transit Passengers with Endless Experiences at the Airport and Beyond. (2004-12-01). Retrieved on 2009-07-16.
  33. Changi poised to handle 50 million passengers a year by 2012
  34. Changi to handle 50m passengers a year by 2012
  35. Changi Airfreight Centre

External links

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