The big picture: 40 years of Singapore Changi

17 Jul 2019 by Jenni Reid
The Jewel at Singapore Changi

Singapore’s Changi Airport has released a set of archive images to mark 40 years since its first foundations were laid.

The airport, regularly voted the world’s best, opened its first terminal in 1981. At the time it offered links to 70 cities on 34 airlines, with an annual capacity of 30 million passengers.

It has since grown to 85 million annual capacity, with 380 routes by 120 airlines across four terminals.

The airport is owned by the Singaporean government, which has sought to turn it into not only a major regional hub but an attraction-packed destination in its own right.

Earlier this year it opened a new $1.26 billion mixed-use development called the Jewel, which alongside standard airport facilities like retail and dining space features the world’s tallest man-made waterfall, the largest indoor hedge maze, and a suspended net for visitors to bounce across.

This week the airport released a set of pictures looking back over the last 40 years.

The site of Singapore's Changi Airport in 1979

1979: Construction of Changi Airport begins with the laying of the foundation stone at Terminal 1.

1981: First commercial flight lands at Changi Airport

1981: The first commercial flight lands at Changi; a Boeing 727 Singapore Airlines flight SQ101 from Kuala Lumpur.

Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 2 in 1990

1990: Terminal 2 opens after five years of construction, extending Changi’s route network to 52 countries.

Terminal 1 swimming pool at Singapore Changi

1995: Changi’s Terminal 1 opens the world’s first transit-area swimming pool, which is today part of the Aerotel Airport Transit Hotel

The first A380 flight, operated by Singapore Airlines

2007: The world’s first commercial A380 flight departs from Changi for Sydney, operated by Singapore Airlines. This year Airbus announced that it would stop production of the aircraft in 2021, amid waning airline appetite for superjumbos.

Changi terminal 3

2008: Terminal 3 opens at the west end of the site, giving Changi the world’s first butterfly garden within an airport.

Singapore Changi terminal 4

2017: Terminal 4 opens to the south of the airport, bringing its total annual capacity to 82 million.

Read more about Singapore Changi and the new Jewel development in the September issue of Business Traveller.

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