SINGAPORE - It was not a typical outing for 36 members of the Hinghwa Methodist Church on Monday (Aug 7) morning.
Led by pastor Joshua Tan, 60, the group arrived at Changi Airport's Terminal 4 (T4) at about 11am for a preview of what the new terminal has to offer before it begins operations.
These features include a kinetic sculpture called Petalclouds, a heritage zone which displays the evolution of shophouse architecture from the 1880s to the 1950s, and an “immersive wall” that depicts Singapore’s skyline, regional landmarks and an animated clip of suitcases being screened before flight.
Said Mr Tan: "I’m so impressed that everything is automated at T4. The kinetic structure is very soothingl for travellers passing through. My members enjoyed the open house very much.” But he added that some of the elderly “may not know how to operate the automated systems” when they board a flight from the terminal in the future.
The group was among an estimated 15,000 people who are expected to attend the T4 open house today. All 200,000 free tickets to the open house have been snapped up.
About 1,200 people arrived in the first hour on Monday of the two-week-long event. Visitors can take a 40-seater shuttle bus that leaves every five minutes from Terminal 3, take a taxi or drive.
Coordinating Minister for Infrastructure and Minister for Transport Khaw Boon Wan said that Singapore cannot be complacent when it comes to challenges facing aviation. There are hits and misses and sometimes infrastructure lags behind demand, he said. So far, the aviation sector has been handling challenges well.
“Aviation is always a good sector for Singapore... We are able to compete with the best in the world,” he said, adding that growth remains strong for aviation.
The new terminal, which begins operations in the second half of the year, will be used by nine airlines. The airlines include the Air Asia Group (of four airlines), Cathay Pacific, Cebu Pacific, Korean Air, Spring Airlines and Vietnam Airlines.
Terminal 4 will also utilise Fast and Seamless Travel (Fast) for departing passengers, such as facial recognition software. This will enhance operational efficiency and raise productivity. Passengers will also check in at their own convenience without waiting for counters to open. This technology is expected to yield productivity gains with manpower savings of about 20 per cent in the long term.
With T4, the total handling capacity of Changi Airport will be raised to 82 million passengers per year.
Graduate Lim Guoying, 23, and Ms Patricia Chia, 28, a marketing and communications officer, were struck by the LED display in the heritage zone.
Ms Chia said: “It’s very cool and descriptive so we know Peranakan heritage better. It’s good for us and for the visitors who pass through to know Singapore culture.".