Singapore Budget 2015: T5 to focus on passenger connectivity and convenience

SINGAPORE - Changi's mega new air terminal, slated to open in a decade, will provide convenient flight transfers for travellers and boost Singapore's attractiveness as a hub for intra-Asian and global air travel.

It will be built for 50 million passengers for a start and if needed, another satellite terminal will be added to handle another 15-20 milion travellers a year.

With the main Terminal 5 building bigger than T2 and T3 combined, it is important to ensure that connecting times for passengers changing flights and walking distances are kept short.

To be built on a piece of reclaimed land separated from the current airport by Changi Coast Road, the T5 project - the biggest airport works since the move from Paya Lebar Airport to Changi in 1981 - aims to cement Changi Airport's position as the region's premier airport and hub.

From 66 million now, Changi will be able to handle up to 85 million passengers by 2018, when T4 is ready and T1 is expanded. By the time T5 starts operating, Changi's annual capacity will hit 135 million passengers.

Besides a new mega terminal, a third runway is also planned.

Updating the House on plans to grow Singapore's aviation sector, Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew said during the debate on his ministry's budget that despite a traffic slowdown last year with growth of just 0.7 per cent, the long-term projection is for Changi to grow by about 3-4 per cent annually over the next two decades.

While T4 is being built and T1 is to be expanded, Changi's capacity will be fully utilised by the middle of the next decade, hence the need for T5.

"Our ambition is for Singapore to remain as South-east Asia's foremost air hub and one of the major hubs in Asia and the world. To do this, we must ensure that Changi is able to accommodate future growth" Mr Lui said.

As infrastructure is being beefed up, the industry, including airlines and ground handlers, will continue to receive support for productivity and other initiatives.

Launched in 2010, the Aviation Development Fund (ADF) which started with a $100-million kitty and expires this month will receive an additional $160 million boost.

karam@sph.com.sg