Changi passenger traffic soars in 2015

Passengers rushing for their flight at Changi's Terminal 3. Low fuel prices - the lowest in more than a decade - should encourage airlines to grow their business.
Passengers rushing for their flight at Changi's Terminal 3. Low fuel prices - the lowest in more than a decade - should encourage airlines to grow their business.ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN

It rallies from weak first half to end year with record 55.4m travellers, up 2.5% from 2014

Changi Airport bounced back from a weak first half to end last year on a new high with a record 55.4 million passengers handled - 2.5 per cent higher than 2014.

The number of aircraft take-offs and landings also grew to 346,330 - 1.4 per cent higher than 2014, said Changi Airport Group (CAG) yesterday.

CAG chief executive Lee Seow Hiang said: "2015 was a year of two halves for Changi Airport. Following 2014, which saw a number of airline incidents in the region and depressed yields for many regional carriers, we had a relatively weak first six months with flat growth for the period."

But efforts to woo new airlines and seek growth opportunities with existing ones eventually paid off, he said. Last year, Changi welcomed eight new carriers, including Batik Air, Thai Lion Air and Myanmar National Airlines. Ten new destinations, including Lucknow in India and Luang Prabang in Laos, were added to the airport's network. Despite the rebound in fortunes, Mr Lee stressed that challenges remain.

"Economic uncertainty in many markets, made worse by lacklustre business and consumer confidence, may dampen travel demand in the near term," he said.

On a more positive note, low fuel prices - the lowest in more than a decade - should encourage airlines to continue to grow their business, while the addition of new city links and airlines should also bode well for Changi.

  • TOP LINKS

  • Changi Airport's top destination links by passenger traffic

    • Jakarta

    • Bangkok

    • Kuala Lumpur

    • Hong Kong

    • Manila

    • Tokyo

    • Bali

    • Ho Chi Minh City

    • Taipei

    • Sydney

New city links include Singapore Airlines' new Singapore-Canberra-Wellington route and flights to Dusseldorf, Germany this year.

Also, Fiji Airways' new direct service from Nadi to Singapore will commence in April.

Asia also continues to present exciting growth opportunities.

Mr Lee said: "Changi Airport is well placed to capture future growth with our expanding network, including many secondary cities, to key markets like China, India and Indonesia. We will continue to work closely with our airline partners to establish new connections to develop the Singapore air hub and better serve our passengers."

Competition, however, will be fierce from rival airports with similar aspirations, according to some analysts. Hong Kong has reported an 8.1 per cent rise in international passenger traffic which hit 68.49 million last year, while South Korea's Incheon airport grew by 8.5 per cent to 48.7 million passengers.

Mr Brendan Sobie from the Centre for Aviation said: "Changi has performed well in the South-east Asian context.

"Market conditions, though, remain challenging and while we have seen growth resume over the last six months, we will not see a return of the double-digit growth seen from 2010 to 2012."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 28, 2016, with the headline 'Changi passenger traffic soars in 2015'. Print Edition | Subscribe