Changi set for record passenger traffic this year

With the new flights, Changi Airport should end the year with more than last year's record total tally of 58.7 million passengers.
With the new flights, Changi Airport should end the year with more than last year's record total tally of 58.7 million passengers. PHOTO: ST FILE

Airlines adding nearly 130 new flights a week progressively from now till the year end

Changi Airport is set for another year of record passenger numbers, with airlines adding more flights to existing destinations and including new ones as they ramp up for the year-end peak travel season.

Close to 130 new flights a week - the highest in at least four years - offering travellers about 26,400 one-way seats to and from Singapore to 18 destinations, will be progressively added from now until the end of the year. In contrast, airlines added about 90 new flights during the same period last year.

With the new flights, Changi Airport should end the year with more than last year's record total tally of 58.7 million passengers. It handled over 41 million passengers between January and August, 5.7 per cent more than the total traffic for the same period last year.

About 80 per cent of the capacity growth this year comes from routes within Asia, particularly to secondary cities in China and South-east Asia, Changi Airport Group (CAG) told The Straits Times.

CAG's managing director (air hub development) Lim Ching Kiat said: "We are pleased that the strengthening of our network to cities across Asia will provide greater choice and convenience for passengers travelling through Changi Airport."

Outside the region, United Airlines launched its non-stop service from Singapore to Los Angeles yesterday, while Singapore Airlines' (SIA) budget arm, Scoot, will be launching a new service to Honolulu later this year.

Changi's growth comes as demand for air travel continues to spike, particularly in China and India, and also as liberalisation in South-east Asia allows airlines to mount more intra-Asean services.

The arrival of more advanced aircraft like the Airbus 350 has also allowed SIA and other carriers to fly farther, more economically.

Even as some of its neighbouring airports are struggling with congestion, Changi is well placed to benefit from the growth, industry analysts said. Efforts by the Singapore Tourism Board and other stakeholders have also continued to ensure that Singapore remains an attractive destination, they added.

With the flight additions, Singaporean travellers can, for the first time, fly direct to three cities in northern China: Harbin, Shijiazhuang and Yantai port city.

By the year end, Changi Airport will have links to 34 Chinese cities, served by 13 airlines. Between January and last month, Singapore-China passenger traffic grew by 11 per cent year on year.

Travellers can enjoy more flight options to places in South-east Asia including Denpasar in Bali, Clark in the Philippines and Hat Yai, Thailand. Jet Airways will double its daily service to New Delhi, while Air India Express is planning a new service to Coimbatore next month.

The new flights are based on schedules pre-filed by carriers for the northern winter season which has started and ends in March.

Retail assistant Julie Tan, 29, said: "With so many flights within the region and affordable fares, I can take a nice, short break for about $1,000 in nearby countries like Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia, with hotel stay included."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 30, 2017, with the headline 'Changi set for record passenger traffic this year'. Print Edition | Subscribe