DALLAS – Singapore Changi International Airport (SIN) and the Ministry of Transport have resumed work on SIN’s new mega Terminal 5.
The project was launched in 2018, but it was stopped in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. With the reopening of the borders and the increase in travel demand, the airport is confident the project will support its growth over the next decade.
Today, only terminals 1 and 3 are in service, and terminal 2 is “gradually reopening” over the course of 2022. While T4 airlines are currently flying from T1 or T3, the airport is ready to open the fourth terminal as soon as needed.
Terminal 5 should be bigger than all the other terminals (T1, T2, T3, and T4) combined. Its construction includes the terminal, which will cover 1,080 ha, and tunnels to connect the building to the existing terminal and a pair of satellite terminals.
T5 was initially scheduled to be open by 2030. However, with the pause due to the pandemic and delays, it is now due to enter service “around the mid-2030s”. The building will add 100 gates to the airport, and should handle 50 million passenger every year.
Comments from the Ministry of Transport
“Given the current and projected recovery in air travel demand, we have a renewed impetus to secure our infrastructural capacity for growth,” explained Singapore’s minister of transport, S. Iswaran, at the Changi Aviation Summit.
Iswaran said the project was halted to “first navigate the COVID-19 challenge, re-assess the trajectory of aviation growth, learn from the pandemic experience, and review T5’s design to meet the needs of post-pandemic travel.”
He added, “We have taken the opportunity of the two-year hiatus to comprehensively review the T5 design to make it more modular and flexible, and enhance its resilience and sustainability. We will re-mobilise the design and engineering consultants progressively, to update and further refine the T5 design.”
Recovering from the Pandemic
Iswaran then spoke about the expected growth of travel demand over the next decade, highlighting the recovery. “We are already seeing evidence of this in Singapore. Passenger traffic has more than doubled to above 40 per cent of pre-COVID levels in May, compared to just under 20 per cent in mid-March.”
He then explained how the new terminal was justified, “While there are good reasons to be optimistic about the future growth of air travel demand, it is incumbent that we do not forget pre-COVID capacity challenges. To reduce ground congestion and the consequential delays in the air, we must strive to build up capacity in anticipation of demand.”
The Minister concluded, “Today, we see the green shoots of recovery and encouraging signs of growth. They not only give us reason for optimism, but also the confidence to forge ahead with a focus on capacity, capabilities, and climate.”
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) expects demand in the Asia-Pacific region to grow by 4.5% every year. With this new “Mega” terminal, SIN is investing in its future as it expects a surge in travel demand.
Featured image: The new terminal will handle 50 million passengers every year. Photo: Singapore Changi Airport