Changi Airport traffic again taking off

Changi Airport will get busier with more flights to be added to its network, bringing the total number of weekly services to more than 6,700.
Changi Airport will get busier with more flights to be added to its network, bringing the total number of weekly services to more than 6,700.ST FILE PHOTO

It is on road to recovery, boosted by a rise in passengers travelling with budget carriers

Changi Airport is on the road to recovery, with 4.42 million passengers handled last month.

This is after a slowdown last year caused mainly by low-cost carriers scaling back their operations to boost profits which had been hit by an overcapacity in the market.

Changi's traffic last month did not grow as strongly as it did in July and August but it was enough for the airport to mark its strongest quarter ever.

Between July and September, it recorded 14.3 million passenger movements, up 5.8 per cent compared with the same three months last year. The number was boosted by a rise in passengers travelling with low-cost carriers, following a period of depressed demand, Changi Airport Group said yesterday.

With the peak travel season coming, the airport should end the year on a higher note, experts said.

  • 40.9m

  • Passengers who travelled through Changi Airport in the first nine months of this year


    257,370

    Aircraft landings and take-offs


    1.37m

    Cargo shipments

Last year, Changi handled a record 54.1 million passengers but traffic grew by a paltry 0.7 per cent over 2013 - the smallest jump since 2009.

In the first nine months of this year, 40.9 million passengers travelled through the airport, 2.1 per cent more than in the same period a year ago. The number of aircraft landings and take-offs rose by 0.8 per cent to 257,370 while cargo shipments held steady at 1.37 million for the year to date.

Jakarta continued to top the list of Changi's busiest routes this year, followed closely by Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, Hong Kong and Manila.

Traffic between Singapore and Bangkok, which was hit earlier this year due partly to political instability in the Thai capital, rebounded strongly and grew by more than 20 per cent between January and September.

Changi will get busier with more flights expected to be added to its network from now until the end of the year.

About 100 new flights in and out will be added each week, bringing the total number of weekly services at Changi to more than 6,700, the airport told The Straits Times.

Some carriers will also swop smaller planes for bigger ones on existing routes which, along with the new services, will translate into more than 23,500 additional seats a week to destinations in Europe, Asia, Australia and New Zealand.

The pick-up at Changi mirrors the regional trend, with the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines reporting last week that carriers in the region carried 6 per cent more passengers last month than in September last year.

Its director-general, Mr Andrew Herdman, said: "Overall, international air passenger demand has seen robust growth during the past nine months.

"Leisure travel markets remained buoyant, driving the continued growth in demand."

While the operating environment remains challenging for airlines, the continued growth in travel demand and lower oil prices have been positive factors, helping to keep air fares affordable for travellers, he said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 30, 2015, with the headline 'Changi Airport traffic again taking off'. Print Edition | Subscribe