Singapore Restarts Changi Airport Expansion After Two-Year Halt

SINGAPORE has resumed work on Changi Airport’s Terminal 5 after the project was halted two years ago as the Covid-19 pandemic wiped out travel.

The government will begin to re-mobilize design and engineering consultants to refine the construction of the terminal, Transport Minister S. Iswaran said at the Changi Aviation Summit in the city-state on Tuesday.

Actual building works are expected to commence in about two to three years, he said.

Air travel is showing signs of a robust recovery in Asia as countries such as Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia and South Korea allow fully-vaccinated people to enter without quarantine. To meet demand, airlines and airports in the region are increasing capacity and hiring more workers.

“Given the current and projected recovery in air travel demand, we have a renewed impetus to secure our infrastructural capacity for growth,” Iswaran said. “Many airports had put in place expansion plans before the pandemic. These plans would now have to be revisited to safely, seamlessly, and sustainably support a return to pre-pandemic rates of growth in air travel.”

Passenger traffic at Changi Airport reached more than 40% of pre-Covid levels in April versus with less than 20% in mid-March, Iswaran said. The government is aiming for the aerodrome to handle at least 50% of the travelers it did before the pandemic by later this year and plans to progressively reopen one of the two terminals that are still closed.

The construction of Changi Airport’s fifth terminal was halted in June 2020 as studies were carried out to determine how the aviation industry will develop after the pandemic. A third runway was also being built to meet growing demand. Terminals 1 and 3 have been operating during Covid, while Terminals 2 and 4 have been shut.

Separately, Iswaran said on Tuesday that Singapore will invest in areas such as air traffic management systems and sustainability. — Bloomberg