It was inevitable given Changi’s size and the recent severe traffic downturn.
Today the Singapore government announced that expansion at its award-winning Changi airport has been paused.
Specifically the expansion slowdown effects Changi’s mega Terminal 5.
Quoted by Straits Times, Singapore’s transport minister Khaw Boon Waw said Terminal 5’s construction would be paused for at least two years amidst the uncertainty about how Covid-19 will change the aviation sector.
Terminal 5 was scheduled for completion by the 2030s which, together with T2 upgrading, would have brought Changi’s capacity to 140 million.
More information on Terminal 5 can be found within our piece dated April 2019.
Changi, voted world’s best airport every year by Business Traveller readers, is already one of the busiest.
It handled 68 million passengers last year. But that number fell by 70 per cent in March and by 99.5 per cent in April according to Straits Times.
Coincidentally this news comes two months after Amsterdam Schiphol announced it too would pause expansion plans at its new terminal.
Readers may query the link.
It is because Changi’s first terminal was modeled after Schiphol with some of the latter’s design team involved.
Likewise Singapore Airlines (SIA) adopted the business plan of KLM of The Netherlands. (Later the same business plans were adopted by the Gulf carriers)
Both airlines are masters of sixth-freedom traffic. In other words they are skilled in taking passengers through, rather than to or from, their hubs.
Just as with Schiphol, Changi was designed for the needs of transit rather than point-to-point travellers.
Things have changed over the years (both now handle many more point-to-point travellers) but both Schiphol and Changi rely on transit traffic for a major proportion of their business.
It means traffic flows may be affected by events in other countries which may decease the demand for travel through these hubs.