Changi Airport Terminal 4 is all ready for its opening next Tuesday after a full-dress rehearsal, including a fire evacuation exercise, went off without a hitch yesterday.
Already, 150 trials, involving 10,000 volunteers and airport staff, have been carried out to test different systems and processes.
The extensive testing is necessary, given that T4, which will house nine airlines, including the AirAsia group's four carriers, will feature several firsts, said Changi Airport Group (CAG).
Unlike the other three terminals, for instance, T4 offers travellers a start-to-end automated process, from check-in to boarding.
Security checks are centralised instead of being done at the boarding gates and, for the first time at Changi, the new terminal will include a facial recognition system to ensure that the same traveller moves from the first to last stop.
The final rehearsal yesterday involved about 1,500 airport staff, tenants and other participants.
All systems were tested and checked by airlines, commercial tenants, ground-handling firms and other stakeholders. The airport emergency services and Singapore Civil Defence Force also conducted a fire drill - the eighth and final test.
To ensure a smooth transfer, the nine airlines that will operate out of T4 will be progressively shifted over a week. Cathay Pacific and Korean Air will move in on the first day, followed by Cebu Pacific and Spring Airlines on Nov 2. The AirAsia group and Vietnam Airlines will start operating out of T4 on Nov 7.
AirAsia Singapore CEO Logan Velaitham said the move to the new "state-of-the-art" terminal is in line with the airline's vision of becoming a digital carrier. He said: "When you fly out of Changi with us, expect a fully automated service with FAST (fast and seamless travel) from door to gate, which integrates seamlessly into our own innovations on mobile and Web."
Notwithstanding the trials and tests, contingency plans are in place for potential system glitches and operational disruptions when the terminal goes live, airport spokesman Ivan Tan said.
These include a dedicated T4 Command Cell comprising different parties from the airport community which will operate for the first few weeks, he said.
With T4, Changi Airport will be able to handle up to 16 million passengers a year, increasing its overall annual capacity to 82 million passengers. This will provide the necessary capacity until the next major injection comes in about 10 to 12 years, when T5 is ready.
CAG executive vice-president (airport management) Tan Lye Teck said: "We look forward to welcoming our first passengers to T4 next week."