“We will be reopening Terminal 4 (T4) in September 2022 and commencing departure operations at T2 in October as passenger traffic continues to recover steadily.” said Mr Ke-Wei Peh, Vice-President, Market Development, Changi Airport Group.
Do tell us about the existing facilities for passengers at Changi Airport? Are all facilities available at present?
At Changi Airport, we endeavour to keep passengers at the heart of everything we do, and this drives the airport community to deliver the Changi Experience – whether it is the excellent customer experience, or the exciting range of shopping and dining facilities across the airport.
Within the transit shopping areas, travellers can look forward to duty-free shopping with 10 Lotte Duty Free stores open across Terminals 1, 2 and 3, as well as beauty and skincare products from over 140 international brands at The Shilla Duty Free.
At Jewel Changi Airport, visitors can dine and shop, as well as enjoy play attractions at Canopy Park, admire the world’s tallest indoor waterfall – the HSBC Rain Vortex and the lush greenery of the Shiseido Forest Valley, or even stay at YotelAir.
Having closed for upgrading works in May 2020, Changi Airport’s Terminal 2 (T2) resumed partial operations on 29 May 2022 as Changi Airport prepares to meet the expected increase in passenger traffic in the months ahead. When completed by 2024, the expansion works will raise the terminal’s capacity by five million to 28 million passenger movements per year.
We will be reopening Terminal 4 (T4) in September 2022 and commencing departure operations at T2 in October as passenger traffic continues to recover steadily. This move will add to Changi Airport’s operating capacity and enable the airport to meet the full recovery of pre-Covid-19 passenger traffic in the Northern Winter Season beginning 30 October 2022 (NW22/23).
What are the challenges you face currently in Passenger Development and Hub Development?
The Covid-19 pandemic has disrupted the travel industry and changed the entire landscape significantly. To that end, a lot of travel trade partners that Changi Airport used to work with closely, may no longer be in business, or have pivoted away from the industry altogether. It will take time to re-establish some of these connections or forge new ones. We value existing partnerships; and are certainly committed to play a part in rebuilding a vibrant aviation scene again.
How would you compare Changi Airport with other Air Hubs such as Dubai International?
Each hub has its own strength and strategy. Geographically, our region is also separated by large water bodies, which makes air travel the most efficient. We believe that the fundamentals for air travel in this region is reinforced with the strong pent-up demand for travel in the short term, especially with a rising middle class.
ICAO reported ‘clear signs of strong global recovery in air traffic’ indicated by expansion in airline seat capacity (+32% year-on-year), passenger numbers (+65% year-on-year) and air connectivity. It is expected that the Asia Pacific region will restore full airline seat capacity by 2023/2024.
At Changi Airport, we also strive to be a destination in itself, with the vast array of shopping and dining options, as well as attractions. We hope that every passenger or visitor that passes through our doors gets to enjoy the Changi Experience.
Do you see a return to business as before or is there to be a new normal?
At Changi Airport, three million passenger movements were handled in 2021, as compared to the 68 million passenger movements registered in 2019 (pre Covid-19). There has been a steady month-on-month increase in 2022 compared to 2021. In May 2022, Changi Airport handled 2.45 million passenger movements, 46% of pre Covid-19 levels.
In 2021, Changi Airport welcomed six passenger and cargo airlines - Air Premia, Gulf Air, SpiceXpress, Starlux, Tasman Cargo Airlines, and ZIPAIR. Two new passenger city links to Bahrain and Vancouver were also established.
The first new airline Changi welcomed in 2022 was HK Express, which operates on the Singapore-Hong Kong route. Following that, four new airlines, Bamboo Airways (Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City), Thai VietJet (Bangkok), T’way Air (Seoul), and Air Calin (Noumea) have also joined Changi’s family of airlines.
IATA Director General, Willie Walsh stated that international passenger traffic will likely recover to pre-pandemic level in 2023, which is a year earlier than the previous forecast. With borders opening up globally, we look forward to a rebound of international travel and we are targeting to hit 50% of pre-pandemic levels at Changi this year.
Slice of Life:
You believe in taking risk or plan beforehand.
I am quite risk averse and will plan for rainy days. A typical family man?
Your high points.
Becoming a father in 2004, and again in 2006
Your low points.
As a Chinese saying goes, there’s always opportunity in a crisis. So, I can’t recall any low point.
Favorite trade/hospitality/fashion industry leader.
Mr Albert See, MD of ASA Tours, Singapore, a travel industry veteran with around half a century experience. I will always remember what he says when asked how he looks much younger than his actual age. It is because the travel business is about bringing happiness to both himself as well as customers.
Favorite destination for travel (national and international).
Locally, the Changi Precinct or the Eastern part of Singapore where Changi Airport is part of. Many hidden gems and off the beaten track attractions to explore.
International - Maldives. It was where I had my honeymoon.
Which type of novels you love?
I am a big fan of Chinese pugilistic novels, especially those by Louis Cha.
A movie that motivates you.
Pay It Forward. I always believe - What Goes Around, Comes Around.
How you spend your day on day off.
Playing racquet games like badminton and table tennis with my 2 teenage sons.