Changi gets more traffic

Aviation experts have mixed views on whether better times lie ahead for Changi Airport.
Aviation experts have mixed views on whether better times lie ahead for Changi Airport.ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

July's 6.8% jump in passenger numbers to 4.89 million is biggest rise in 2 years

Strong growth in passenger traffic at Changi Airport in July has given some hope that the slowdown over the last few years may have bottomed out.

Changi handled 4.89 million passengers in July, a 6.8 per cent increase from the same month last year.

The year-on-year jump - the biggest in almost two years - came on the back of strong demand across all key markets, Changi Airport Group said.

These include Indonesia, Malaysia, China, Australia, Thailand, Hong Kong, India and Japan.

During the month of July, flight movements also rose by 4.3 per cent to 29,400 landings and take-offs.

  • 6.8%

  • Increase in passenger traffic in July this year from last year


    Increase in flight movements in July this year from last year

Last month's numbers are not out yet but The Straits Times understands that traffic growth was fairly strong, due in part to the long SG50 weekend to celebrate Singapore's 50th birthday.

Between January and July, Changi Airport handled a total of 31.5 million passengers, a 1.1 per cent year-on-year growth rate.

Of these months, May saw the strongest growth of 2.6 per cent compared with the same month last year.

Last year, the airport handled a total of 54.1 million passengers, a paltry 0.7 per cent increase over the 12 months before.

Aviation experts had mixed views on whether the recovery in the last two years signified better times ahead for Changi Airport.

Dynasty Travel spokesman Alicia Seah said: "With the F1 round the corner, we expect September traffic numbers to be fairly strong as well.

"The strengthening of the Singapore dollar against the Malaysian and several other currencies also continues to fuel outbound travel.

"Overall, we expect Changi to do fairly well for the rest of the year."

Changi's continued addition of flights and cities to its list of destinations is also expected to boost its traffic.

Last month, three new airlines - Indonesia's Batik Air, Thai Lion Air and Myanmar National Airlines - launched services to Singapore.

Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation analyst Brendan Sobie, however, said it is early days yet to make any conclusive assessment of where Changi is heading.

He said: "While the growth in July was the highest monthly gain in almost two years, it is still early to say if it signifies a turning point.

"And it certainly does not signify a return of the high growth rates we saw in 2010 to 2012."

During that period, aggressive expansion by budget carriers such as AirAsia, Tigerair and Jetstar Asia fuelled double-digit traffic growth at Changi Airport.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 05, 2015, with the headline 'Changi gets more traffic'. Print Edition | Subscribe