If you’re returning to Singapore on a Singapore Airlines flight, don’t be surprised if your plane arrives at Changi Terminal 1 instead of the usual Terminal 3.
From 28 February 2022, Singapore Airlines will be using both Terminals 1 & 3 for arrivals, although departures will still take place from Terminal 3 exclusively.
The first Singapore Airlines flight to land at Terminal 1 was SQ447 from Dhaka, yesterday morning at 4 a.m. Since then, flights from Brisbane, Zurich and Munich have also landed or have been scheduled to land at Terminal 1.
Singapore Airlines flights will land at Terminals 1 and 3
For context, Singapore Airlines previously operated out of Changi Terminals 2 and 3, serving Southeast Asia and South Asia from Terminal 2, and all other destinations from Terminal 3. Arriving flights would land at either Terminal 2 or 3, depending on operational requirements.
|✈️ SIA Departures by Terminal (Pre-COVID)
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a decision was made to close Terminal 2 in May 2020 for at least 18 months, which would conserve resources and expedite the planned renovations.
Singapore Airlines consolidated operations under one roof at Terminal 3, where it’s been ever since. That’s not a bad thing from a passenger experience perspective, mind you, since Terminal 2 was the oldest terminal and the SilverKris Lounge there was underwhelming.
But with Singapore progressively reopening its borders and quarantine-free travel returning with the VTLs, flight volumes must have recovered to the point that Terminal 3 capacity alone is insufficient.
According to the latest operating statistics, SIA and Scoot carried 966,000 passengers in 3Q 2021/22 (that’s October to December 2021; remember, SIA’s financial year ends in March), nearly a 500% increase from the same period a year ago.
That can only be a good thing, really.
How do I know which terminal my flight will land?
The short answer is you don’t- not at least until two hours before landing. That’s similar to pre-COVID days, when Singapore Airlines operated out of Terminals 2 and 3.
Terminals will be assigned based on operational needs, and there won’t be any fixed pattern as to which flights use which terminals. A given flight may use Terminal 1 today, but Terminal 3 tomorrow.
You can track arrival information on the Changi Airport website.
What are the implications?
Does it make a difference whether you land in Terminal 1 as opposed to Terminal 3? Yes, but not a whole lot.
While the on-arrival PCR test process was slightly different in Terminal 1 compared to Terminal 3, that’s a non-issue now that supervised ARTs at offsite QTCs/CTCs (or via tele-medicine) have been introduced for VTL/Category I arrivals.
The most I can think of is that duty free shopping is currently only available in the Terminal 3 arrival hall; the outlet in the Terminal 1 arrival hall is temporarily closed. So if you were looking to stock up on wines and beer, fingers crossed you land in the right place.
If you’re a transit passenger, you might want to buffer a little more time for your connections just for peace of mind, but come to think of it, you don’t have much to worry about as connections on separate tickets aren’t allowed at the moment.
Under the government’s transit travel rules, passengers who arrive in Changi and plan to depart on a different airline, must have both flights booked in the same booking itinerary. Passengers must also have their checked-in luggage tagged-through from the origin airport to their final destination.
Since you’re travelling on a single ticket, your connecting airline should know you’re on the way, and hold the plane for you or reaccommodate as necessary.
In case you were wondering, the minimum connection time (MCT) for Changi Airport is 60 minutes so long as Terminal 4 (which is currently closed) isn’t involved, which applies regardless of whether you’re going from T1 to T3, T3 to T3 or any permutation of T1, 2 and 3. This change, therefore, will have no impact on the types of connecting itineraries you can book.
As a reminder, there is no longer any COVID-19 test requirement for transit passengers through Changi Airport, nor the dreaded “transit holding pen”. All passengers will have free movement through the transit areas and can use facilities just like pre-COVID days.
Singapore Airlines flights will be landing at Changi Terminals 1 and 3 going forward, which won’t have much impact on your travel experience except access to duty-free on arrival and perhaps some additional walking time.
As a reminder, this has no impact on departures. All Singapore Airlines flights continue to depart from Terminal 3, regardless of destination (or rather, you check-in at Terminal 3; some flights may depart from gates in Terminal 1, as per recent data points).
I suppose, if nothing else, fully vaccinated and recently-recovered travellers (who are not subject to any on-arrival testing or isolation) might have quicker access to Jewel if they land at Terminal 1 rather than 3…
Can you think of any other implications of landing at Terminal 1 versus Terminal 3?