'More important to do this well than fast': Iswaran says CAG, Jetstar still in talks over move to T4

Changi Airport Group and Jetstar are in discussions on the operational aspects of the move, said Transport Minister S. Iswaran. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - More than a month after low-cost carrier Jetstar refused to move to Changi Airport Terminal 4 from Terminal 1, it remains unclear if the airline will make the transition by the scheduled date of Oct 25.

Transport Minister S. Iswaran on Tuesday (Aug 30) said Jetstar and Changi Airport Group (CAG) are still in talks on how to ensure the airline's operational needs and those of its passengers are met.

When asked by reporters if Jetstar would move by Oct 25 - the date given by CAG in July - Mr Iswaran did not commit to a timeframe, saying that it was "important to do this well rather than do this fast".

Both parties are engaged in a discussion on the basis of seeking a win-win outcome, he said.

Jetstar had issued a statement on July 23 saying it had no intention of moving to T4, after CAG listed the Australia-based carrier as one of the 16 airlines that would make the shift after the terminal reopens on Sept 13.

Although Jetstar did not give an official reason for the pushback then, it is understood that the airline is unhappy with the poorer connection of T4 to the other terminals, where many of its partner airlines such as Qantas and Emirates operate.

On Tuesday, Mr Iswaran reiterated the objective of the move, which is to increase the airport's capacity in anticipation of a growth in year-end demand.

He said it will allow CAG to optimise the allocation of airlines across terminals, and help individual airlines increase their flight numbers.

Asked whether there will be an announcement after talks are concluded, given the looming Oct 25 deadline, Mr Iswaran said he did not want to specify a timeframe "simply because we need to give them enough time to make sure they have worked through the issues".

He added: "If it means taking a little bit more time, but making sure that all the key elements are well taken care of, to the reasonable satisfaction of all the parties involved, I think that should be our priority."

CAG and Jetstar are currently involved in a joint study to minimise the impact of the transition for the airline, whose passengers will be affected by the longer connection time between T 4 and the other terminals.

To get to the other terminals from their planes, transiting passengers will have to take shuttle buses that run every 10 to 13 minutes.

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CAG, on its part, has said it will make "special provisions" for Jetstar passengers, where possible.

It said it has been talking to Jetstar about the move since 2019 when terminals were filling up due to higher passenger traffic.

Moving Jetstar is the "only option" that would allow it to optimally use its aircraft gates, it has said.

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