SINGAPORE - Changi Airport’s Terminal 4 will open on Oct 31 – a critical milestone for the airport as it goes live with new technology, systems and procedures that could shape the future of air travel in Singapore.
For the first time at Changi, T4 will feature a facial recognition system that will capture a passenger’s photo at different stations, centralised security screening, as well as start-to-end self-service options for check-in and other processes.
Announcing the opening date in a Facebook post on Wednesday (Sept 6) morning, Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan said that since the completion of construction last December, T4 has undergone extensive trials.
To date, Changi Airport Group (CAG) has conducted more than 100 trials, involving 2,500 airport staff and 1,500 volunteers, he said. Volunteers included members of The People’s Association and students from tertiary institutions who role-played as passengers.
Mr Khaw said: “After endless rounds of testing and fine-tuning, we are ready to open T4... Another big step forward in our journey as a global air hub."
Nine airlines – the AirAsia Group (which comprises four airlines), Cathay Pacific Airways, Cebu Pacific Air, Korean Air, Spring Airlines and Vietnam Airlines – will operate from the new terminal.
Cathay and Korean Air will be the first two to move on Oct 31, followed by Cebu Pacific and Spring Airlines on Nov 2, and the AirAsia Group and Vietnam Airlines on Nov 7.
The first arriving and departing flights at T4 will be operated by Cathay Pacific – CX659 from Hong Kong which is scheduled to arrive at 5.40am and CX650, which will depart from here to Hong Kong at 6.50am.
Mr Tan Lye Teck, the airport’s executive vice-president (airport management), said: “The past months have been a very crucial period for us as we conducted intensive tests and trials, not only to ensure that the systems work well, but also to understand how passengers navigate the new terminal, including interacting with initiatives such as self-service options which may be less familiar to them.”
CAG has identified areas of improvement following those trials, he said.
Feedback gathered from trial participants has also been very useful to help fine-tune systems and processes. Mr Tan said: “We will take the next few weeks to complete the last set of trials as we prepare for the commencement of operations at T4.”
There will be no Skytrain linking T4 to the other terminals so those with connecting flights will be moved to a transfer lounge where they will be bussed to T2. They can take a Skytrain to T1 and T3 from there.
A public shuttle bus service will also be provided.
To further improve access to and from the new terminal, bus services 24, 34 and 36, which currently serve the other three terminals, will also call at T4 from Oct 22, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) said in a separate release.
A new route - Service 110 - will also be launched to operate between Sengkang and Changi’s four passenger terminals, LTA said.
Apart from extensive use of technology to achieve efficiency and manpower savings of up to 20 per cent, T4 promises to be a visual treat for travellers and visitors.
Designed with high ceilings and open spaces, it projects a modern, clean look. Highlights include a Perakanan-themed heritage zone featuring a six-minute cultural show and a 70m by 5m wall showcasing Singapore’s skyline and Asean landmarks, as well as a whimsical animated clip on suitcases being screened before a flight.
At the heart of T4 is a grand-scale kinetic sculpture, Petalclouds, spanning 200m. Combining art and technology to create a harmonic collective choreography of six identical petal clouds, the sculpture depicts clouds moving slowly through the horizon.
While there will be no Skytrain linking T4 to the other terminals, those with connecting flights will be moved to a transfer lounge where they will be bussed to T2. They can take a Skytrain to T1 and T3 from there. A public shuttle bus service will also be provided.
T4 will be able to handle up to 16 million passengers a year, bringing Changi Airport’s total annual handling capacity to 82 million passengers.
The next big capacity injection will be the completion of T5 by the end of the next decade. When fully completed, the mega passenger terminal will be bigger than T1, T2 and T3 combined.