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Travel & Holiday

New look for Changi Airport's oldest terminal

Upgrading work nearly completed, with more shops and eateries added
The Straits Times - August 3, 2011
By: Karamjit Kaur
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New look for Changi Airport's oldest terminal - ST PHOTOS: MUGILAN RAJASEGERAN

TERMINAL 1, Changi Airport's oldest and busiest terminal, is giving travellers and visitors more to do and enjoy now that a $500 million overhaul is more than 85 per cent completed.

More shops and restaurants have been added, among other enhancements in the upgrade of the terminal, home to budget carriers AirAsia and Jetstar as well as key airlines like Qantas.

The work, which began in May 2008, will wrap up by the first quarter of next year, said Changi Airport Group (CAG) spokesman Ivan Tan.

The makeover will benefit the growing number of travellers using T1 in recent years.

In the first half of the year, T1 - the smallest of the three main terminals - handled more than 30 per cent of Changi's 22.4 million travellers.

The airport, a key hub in the region, did not provide a breakdown for the other terminals.

Before Terminal 3 opened in January 2008, Changi's traffic was more or less equally split between Terminals 1 and 2.

But with low-cost carriers growing much faster than full-service airlines, and two of Changi's three biggest budget carriers housed in T1 - Tiger Airways uses the Budget Terminal - the 30-year-old terminal has been filling up.

The trend is expected to continue in the coming months.

In the six months to the end of June, the low-cost market grew by 25.2 per cent compared with the figure in the same period last year.

T1's fortunes look set to soar higher, with Jetstar and AirAsia having announced plans to further stretch their wings at Changi in the coming months.

Full-service airlines, in contrast, lifted their business by just 6.6 per cent.

To ensure that service levels and standards are consistent across the different terminals, Mr Tan said CAG works closely with airlines and ground agencies.

Earlier this year, three airlines - Garuda Indonesia, Vietnam Airlines and Saudi Arabian Airlines - moved their operations from T1 to T3, he added.

This was to ensure a more equal distribution of traffic across the terminals.

CAG will make other adjustments in future where needed, he noted.

Over the years, Changi Airport has undergone several expansion and improvement projects in a bid to retain airlines and travellers, as well as woo new ones.

In 1995, 14 years after T1 opened, a $147 million renovation was done.

In March 2006, the Budget Terminal was launched and, a few months later in September that year, Changi completed a $240 million improvement project for T2.

Two years later, T3 opened for business.

Preschool teacher Angela Thomas, 34, said: 'I travel quite a fair bit and Changi is way ahead, compared to many other airports I have visited, especially those in the United States and Europe.'

Of the improvements at T1, she said: 'It's been given a nice facelift. More natural light, more space. A better experience all round.'

What visitors can expect


  • Total floor space increased by 22,000 sq m to 302,000 sq m.

  • Number of shops and restaurants in the transit area up from 65 to 85.

  • Bigger holding rooms and wider walkways.

  • New and bigger toilets. There is also a set of 'premier toilets' with specially designed entrances, layouts and finishes. A glass wall provides a view of the tarmac, where aircraft are parked.

  • A new high glass facade to replace the wall spanning the length of the arrival immigration hall. This allows natural light in and offers travellers a better external view of lush greenery.

  • A bigger public viewing gallery.

  • A new departure kerbside canopy extends over the first two lanes and provides more shelter for visitors.

  • A new centralised departure immigration area, instead of two previously. A single point of entry allows more optimal and efficient manning of immigration counters.
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