Although Singapore’s Changi Airport registered a new record high in terms of passenger numbers at 54.1 million passenger movements in 2014, its year-on year-growth reflected only a 0.7% increase in passenger numbers compared to 2013.
Airport management said the poor figures were the result of “several unforeseen events that depressed travel demand, [together with] a difficult operating environment for many airlines in the region.”
Apart from a one-year hit in 2009, due to the global economic crisis, the airport has not recorded less than a 2.5% growth for 10 years. The airport’s slowing figures have been consistently downward, recording 13%growthin 2010, 11%growthin2011, 10%growthin2012, and only 5% 2013. Flight movements in 2014 dropped 0.7%, to 341,390, for the entire year.
In comparison, Malaysia’s Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) group, which manages Kuala Lumpur airports, saw an overall passenger increase of 4.7% year-on-year from 2013, despite the slump in Malaysian travel attributed to the Malaysian Airlines’ MH370 disappearance in March 2014 and MH17 shootdown in July 2014.
The predominant reason for the slackening growth is likely a significant pullback by Southeast Asian low-cost carriers (LCCs) from the Singapore sector; LCC seat capacity growth out of Singapore only increased 3% overall for 2014. LCCs—including AirAsia, Jetstar, Scoot and Tigerair—all trimmed their schedules or held back on promised expansion plans following the recent overcapacity issues that closed Tigerair Mandala and caused Lion Air to trim schedules from Changi.
“2014 was a challenging year for the aviation industry, especially in Southeast Asia,” Changi Airport Group (CAG) CEO Lee Seow Hiang said.
Lee said the group is committed to introducing ongoing programs to provide temporary cost relief for airlines to encourage them to “collaborate on new ideas to stimulate passenger traffic or boost operational efficiency” at Changi.