Changi Airport has announced its plans to suspend operations at Terminal 2 for an 18-month period, effective May 1, 2020. The consolidation of operations across terminals will lead to some much-needed cost savings, and accelerate the Terminal 2 renovations by as much as a year.
Singapore Airlines and SilkAir have already moved to Terminal 3 effective April 8 (and got a nice send-off from the iconic Terminal 2 flipboard), but it was unclear at the time of announcement where the other 13 airlines would end up.
|Terminal 1||Terminal 3||Terminal 4|
|Update: Changi has refreshed the article with the terminal changes to mark them all as TBC, so it’s possible there will be future changes made. Stay tuned.|
Some of these movements were expected- it seems only logical that Malaysia Airlines join the rest of the oneworld fold at Terminal 1. This means that passengers (when they start flying again) will enjoy a much superior lounge experience, getting to choose from the Qatar Airways Premium Lounge, the Qantas Business Lounge, and the Qantas First Lounge.
Currently, Malaysia Airlines premium cabin passengers and oneworld elites are invited to the SATS Premier Lounge at Terminal 2. Absolutely no disrespect to that facility (it did win Priority Pass Lounge of the Year in 2017), but it can’t hold a candle to the oneworld lounges in Terminal 1. Yes, Malaysia Airlines passengers were always free to take the Skytrain across, but you’ll be amazed at how many travelers don’t know what they’re entitled to.
Likewise, it’s not surprising to me that fellow Star Alliance members United, Ethiopian, LOT Polish, Lufthansa and SWISS join Singapore Airlines in Terminal 3. This means easier transfers for passengers connecting on Singapore Airlines/SilkAir to cities in Southeast Asia.
However, it also means that there’ll be additional pressure on the SilverKris lounges. Once air traffic volumes return to normal, it’s hard to see the already crowded SilverKris lounges accommodating even more passengers.
Keep in mind, part of the Business Class section has already been closed for renovations, and the old KrisFlyer Gold lounge is being used as a spillover area. I also don’t envy the Star Gold passengers flying in Economy, who will be funneled into a more-crowded-than-ever Marhaba lounge.
Perhaps Changi is banking on the fact that by the time traffic volumes pick up, it’ll be time to re-open Terminal 2, thus avoiding the issue completely. Moreover, given what’s going on now, it seems almost fantastical to envision a fully packed airline lounge…
What’s surprising to me is that ANA and Air India are sent to Terminals 1 and 4 respectively. Perhaps connecting passenger data shows that the majority of them connect to airlines that operate out of those terminals already. For what it’s worth, fellow Star Alliance member Thai Airways operates out of Terminal 1, and has its own lounge there. It’s a dismal facility though, and really not worth the visit.
The question is how permanent these moves are- when Terminal 2 resumes operations, will all the transplanted airlines return? Or will this be an opportunity to solidify the status of T1 as the oneworld terminal and T3 as the Star Alliance terminal? One thing at a time, I suppose.
Other changes to take note of
Changi has also announced the following logistical matters regarding the suspension of operations at Terminal 2.
Taxis & Private Hire Vehicles:
- T2 taxi stand will be closed. Taxis will continue to serve the other terminals. There will be pick-up/drop-off points at T2 for private hire vehicles.
Public Bus & Train Service:
- Public bus & train services will be in operation.
- Both car parks 2A & 2B will remain open.
TRANSFER BETWEEN TERMINALS & JEWEL
The biggest winners here are Malaysia Airlines passengers, who get easier access to three excellent oneworld lounges in Terminal 1.
Star Alliance passengers will enjoy a better (but not what I’d call world-class) lounge in Terminal 3, although there are concerns about overcrowding once things return to normal.
What interesting times these are.