This will support the strong recovery in travel demand following Singapore’s reopening under the Vaccinated Travel Framework scheme. Passenger traffic at Changi continues to grow by leaps and bounds, and airlines are looking to take advantage by launching additional flights for the Northern Winter Season, starting 30 October 2022.
|🛫 Passenger Movements at Changi Airport
While full figures for May are not yet published, Changi Airport Group (CAG) has shared that passenger traffic at Changi Airport for the first week of June was at 48% of pre-COVID levels- none too shabby.
Terminal 2 has already reopened for arrivals since the end of May, and CAG has announced that departure operations will commence from October 2022. Arriving passengers will also have access to duty-free shopping and F&B concessions in the coming months.
Terminal 4 to reopen September 2022
Departure and arrival operations at Changi Terminal 4 will resume from September 2022, with CAG currently in the midst of engaging the various stakeholders involved. Passengers should expect a relatively sparse terminal in the initial phase, however, with only a “small number” of retail and F&B options initially.
CAG will first reopen T4 in September 2022 to handle both departure and arrival flights. Engagement with airlines, airport partners and potential tenants has begun to prepare for this.
While some time is needed to sign new leases with concessionaires, it is expected that there will be a small number of retail outlets and F&B options to serve passengers when T4 reopens.
In terms of which airlines will return to T4, CAG has stated the following:
It is expected that airlines previously operating at T4 will return to the terminal upon its reopening. CAG will work with the airlines on the relocation details.
For context, Terminal 4 mostly served budget airlines prior to COVID, but also hosted full-service carriers like Cathay Pacific, Korean Air and Vietnam Airlines.
|✈️ Terminal 4 Airlines (pre-COVID)
What to expect at Terminal 4
Changi Terminal 4 opened in October 2017, spanning 225,000 sqm and providing handling capacity for 16 million passengers per annum. It occupies the site of the former Budget Terminal (which I think Singapore policymakers would rather forget!), and though it was originally conceptualised as a dedicated terminal for low cost carriers, eventually pivoted to host full-service carriers as well.
Terminal 4 is big on automation, with the check-in and bag drop process fully self-serve, and immigration and boarding checks handled through facial biometrics. It’s meant to serve as a test bed for these concepts, ahead of the planned Terminal 5.
Terminal 4 is also the only terminal at Changi to offer centralised security screening (as opposed to individual screening at the various boarding gates). This means you can purchase liquids and aerosols in the departure area (or sneak a bottle of water from the lounge) and bring them onto the aircraft.
In terms of airline lounges, there’s only two facilities to note. Cathay Pacific operates its second largest lounge outside of Hong Kong (Taipei takes first place) in T4, a spacious Ilse Crawford-designed facility that opened in November 2017.
Cathay Pacific has been housed in T1 ever since April 2020, but is a nailed-on candidate to return to T4. However, it’s doubtful we’ll see the lounge reopening straight away, especially since Cathay Pacific’s schedule to Singapore is bare bones at the moment: just three flights scheduled for the whole of June!
Service will have increased to 3X weekly flights by the time September comes round, but that’s still too few to justify operating its own lounge. For perspective, prior to COVID Cathay Pacific operated nine daily flights from Changi.
Since there are no other oneworld carriers operating out of T4, the Cathay Pacific lounge is exclusively for its own passengers. All others may use the Blossom Lounge, a contract facility open to Dragon Pass, Lounge Key and Priority Pass members (it’s one of the few Plaza Premium facilities that has retained ties with Lounge Key and Priority Pass, following their break-up in 2021).
Terminal 2 Departure Hall opening in October
T2 has already been receiving arriving passengers since 29 May 2022, although the welcome wagon is decidedly austere. There’s no F&B concessions or duty free, with a lone SIM card stand the only amenity to speak of.
That will change in the next few months, with The Shilla Duty Free (for beauty products) and Lotte Duty Free (for duty-free wines and spirits) set to open in August and September respectively. A cluster of up to four F&B concepts will open in October, together with the southern wing of the departure hall.
Once again, CAG has yet to announce which airlines will relocate to T2, but I’m almost certain Singapore Airlines will be among them. SIA has long outgrown T3’s available capacity, and is already operating out of T1, 2 and 3 (all check-in formalities still take place at T3 exclusively)- not the best of experiences for passengers. While there’s no confirmation yet, I would also expect to see the T2 SilverKris Lounges reopen, taking some of the strain off the T3 Lounges.
|✈️ Terminal 2 Airlines (pre-COVID)
2022 is set to be a bumper year for Changi Airport, which will go from two terminals to four in the space of nine months. Terminal 4 will open in September while Terminal 2 will scale up to full arrival and departure operations in October, further milestones on Changi’s road to recovery.
I’m particularly looking forward to exploring Terminal 4 again, as it’s a place I never really acquainted myself with prior to COVID.