Changi Airport Group runs business with rigour

We thank Mr Toh Cheng Seong for his views ("CAG should consider next moves carefully"; Tuesday).

As a corporation, Changi Airport Group (CAG) runs its business with rigour, keeping a strong focus on financial viability, and is always committed to ensuring Singapore's success as a global air hub.

Changi Airport operates in a dynamic global landscape, where many airports compete to capture a bigger share of traffic.

While Changi Airport may not have a large hinterland, it enjoys a healthy share of the transfer market, serving millions of passengers en route to other destinations. With strong prospects for aviation in the Asia-Pacific, we will benefit from increased travel demand on intra-Asia routes. Ultimately, this will have a positive impact on Singapore's economy, as the airport industry accounts for 6 per cent of gross domestic product and some 160,000 jobs.

Since Changi Airport's corporatisation in 2009, we have increased passenger traffic by almost 50 per cent, to 54 million passengers last year, and grown commercial revenues by 9.5 per cent a year. As a result, we have remained financially strong, with our profits reinvested in development projects, including Terminal 4, Terminal 1 expansion and Jewel.

These projects provide the capacity needed to serve more passengers and support the growth of airlines. But developing a strong air hub is more than just raising capacity. Innovations such as Jewel allow us to capture tourism mindshare and strengthen Changi's appeal as a transfer hub.

Our subsidiary, Changi Airports International (CAI), has gained from Changi Airport's strong brand recognition globally, and undertaken numerous consultancy projects. As for investments, we are highly selective - they must have long-term growth and investment potential. As a strategic investor, CAI works with its investee companies to add value and improve their operating and financial performance.

CAI also promotes collaboration with foreign aviation partners. An example is the aviation training academy established with Xiamen Airport.

Lessons learnt from our overseas ventures have been useful for our team in Singapore too. Importantly, CAG's international presence, anchored in Singapore, enables us to attract and develop talent. This will help sustain Changi Airport's success even beyond the completion of Terminal 5.

The bulk of CAG's funds are reserved for Changi Airport's operational and expansion needs. Hence, the airport investment fund that CAI is setting up will be largely funded by institutional investors. CAI will manage the fund and contribute seed money. This approach will allow us to capitalise on our experience and expertise to tap opportunities, for returns that will eventually be invested in the Singapore air hub.

Ivan Tan
Senior Vice-President
Corporate and Marketing Communications
Changi Airport Group

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 16, 2015, with the headline 'Changi Airport Group runs business with rigour'. Print Edition | Subscribe