Singapore’s Changi International Airport reported a 7.9% year-on-year (YOY) passenger growth in August, seeing 5.7 million passengers passing through its gates. Since the beginning of 2018, Changi’s four terminals have handled 43.5 million passengers. 

Operator Changi Airport Group (CAG) said the European market grew 22% in August, followed by South Asia at 13%. Traffic to/from Oceania also achieved a 10% YOY increase for the first time in 2018. 

Commercial aircraft movements increased 3.6% to 32,890 takeoff and landings on its two runways, although air cargo growth was modest at 1.8%.

“China and India are growth markets for us; China has overtaken Indonesia in terms of visitor arrivals into Singapore. And traffic volume between Singapore and China was 6.3 million in 2017,” CAG associate general manager-airline development and air hub development Liew Zhong Yao told ATW at World Routes 2018.

He observed the emergence of new cities that can sustain demand for direct service and gave the example of how China’s Zhengzhou was decoupled from a transit flight via Xiamen to a nonstop flight to Singapore. Similarly, he also foresees routes such as China Eastern’s Yantai-Fuzhou-Singapore service maturing into direct flight from Yantai.

“There are also the so-called ‘Tier 1.5’ cities like Chengdu, Xi’An, Xiamen, Chongqing, which are not only important to link but also thicken the route,” he said. “ We are also optimistic that bellyhold cargo in these new markets will stimulate demand for future air cargo.”

“In Europe there a few cities we would like to connect to, like Madrid, Oslo, Brussels and Vienna,” Liew added. He said the ultra-long-range segment could see points such as Vancouver and Chicago. “South America will be on the radar, but not in the near term,” he said. 

Singapore Airlines dropped the Sao Paulo (Brazil) route via Barcelona in 2016, citing poor load factors.

In addition, CAG is working with airlines to allow early check-in for all passengers once the new Jewel multi-use complex is completed, allowing passengers to spend more time at the airport facilities.

Chen Chuanren, Chuanren@purplelightvisuals.com