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Travel & Holiday

New airport hotel by 2015

Completion date later than expected for building with link to Crowne Plaza
December 5, 2012
By: Karamjit Kaur, Aviation Correspondent
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New airport hotel by 2015

CHANGI Airport's new 200-room hotel is to be completed in 2015, later than anticipated.

Expected to be a three-star Holiday Inn Express, it will be built next to the 320-room Crowne Plaza near Terminal 3, with both buildings linked by a bridge.

Although no firm date was given when plans for the new project were announced more than 18 months ago, industry watchers had expected it to be finished earlier to meet high demand for hotel rooms. They said one possible reason for the later opening is the fact that the site changed hands when sold to Overseas Union Enterprise (OUE) in April last year.

The property firm's energies are currently focused on gaining control of food and beverage giant Fraser & Neave, which is also on the radar of Thai tycoon Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi.

However, industry watchers do not expect the 2015 opening to have a significant impact on travellers.

"Unlike many other airports, Changi is a short 20-minute drive away from the city and there are also hotels in the east," said Mr Robert Khoo, chief executive of the National Association of Travel Agents Singapore.

"So even if there is a shortfall of rooms at Changi, I do not see it as a big problem."

Travellers who need rooms at the airport can stay at either the Crowne Plaza or one of the transit hotels at each terminal.

The project - which will begin construction next year - is also being undertaken by OUE, which paid $250 million for the Crowne Plaza and another $43 million for the piece of land next to it for the new development.

It is likely to cater mainly to low-cost travellers, who have been driving much of the growth at the airport.

A spokesman for OUE said plans had been submitted to the relevant authorities, with work expected to start next year once the approvals are granted.

Changi Airport Group spokesman Ivan Tan said the project would boost the total number of hotel rooms available to passengers by more than 40 per cent. "The additional rooms will be beneficial for Changi Airport's travellers, as they will have more options to stay within close proximity of the airport, especially when they arrive late at night or depart early in the morning," he said.

Despite the economic slowdown in Europe and softening demand for global air travel, industry watchers said overall passenger numbers at Changi remain strong.

The airport, which handled almost 42 million travellers in the first 10 months of the year, is expected to exceed the 50 million mark for the first time by the end of this month.

karam@sph.com.sg

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