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Singapore Changi’s Massive Expansion Includes A Jewel

Jewel, the new icon of Changi Airport

As Changi Airport’s marquee Terminal 5 takes shape, facility management has been building capacity and efficiency by enhancing existing terminals.

Terminal 1 has been modernized to include 50 self-service check-in kiosks and a fully automated baggage-handling system, says CAG, adding that the baggage claim area has also doubled in size.  

In addition, CAG has worked with Singapore government-linked property developer CapitaLand to develop a dramatic new shopping center complex at the airport called Jewel. The sprawling glass facade of the new nature-themed shopping mall is visible from the sky, replacing what was previously the Terminal 1 open-air carpark. In its first six months since opening, Jewel has reportedly drawn about 50 million visitors.  

Its next project is renovating Terminal 2 to increase the airport’s handling capacity to 90 million passengers per annum by 2024, up from 85 million now, CAG says. The project expands the terminal building with 15,500 sq. meters of space, much of which will be added to the departure and arrival halls, the group adds. 

More retail, food and beverage space is part of the Terminal 2 revamp, as is typically the case with Changi Airport terminal upgrades, as the airport can generate more revenues from passenger spending. 

There is also Changi East Industrial Zone, which is being built alongside Terminal 5. The new zone will absorb most future growth in the airport’s cargo capacity, although there are also plans to remodel the existing Changi Airfreight Center, CAG says.  

Phase one of the industrial zone is expected to be ready by 2030. The added cargo facilities, which are currently being planned, will raise total airfreight capacity to 5.4 million tons per year from 3 million currently, says CAG. The airport handled 2.01 million tons of airfreight in 2019. 

Terminal 5 will comprise a main terminal building and two satellite terminals. Total capacity will be 50 million passenger per annum. And it will be integrated with the industrial zone and the airport’s three runways. It means numerous tunnels and underground systems need to be built to link all of Changi Airport’s facilities in the future, it says.  

When the Changi East development is completed in the 2030s, the airport’s physical footprint will have doubled in size to over 2,000 hectares.  

Changi Airport says its passenger traffic has grown steadily over the past decade. Passenger numbers increased 4% in 2019 year-on-year to 68.3 million passengers. 

Beyond large building projects, CAG is maximizing the operational efficiency of its infrastructure through better technology and procedures. CAG says its fast and seamless travel (FAST) initiative has sought to transform the departure journey by bringing together self-service check-in kiosks, automated bag-drop machines, facial recognition technology and automated identity checks. To support this digital transformation, CAG opened the Digital Innovations Ventures Analytics Hub in August 2019. The hub works with data scientists and user interface (UI) and user experience (UX) designers to promote innovation in digital products that can improve customer experience and efficiency in airport processes, it says.