Changi Airport sees one-third of flights going through compared with pre-pandemic times

The figure covers all flights passing through Changi Airport, including commercial and cargo flights. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

SINGAPORE - The total number of flights going through Changi Airport has reached one-third of pre-pandemic levels as Singapore's air hub continues its gradual recovery.

According to data from flight tracker FlightAware, the trailing seven-day average number of flights passing through the airport was 359 on Thursday (Dec 9). This was just over a third of the figure registered in the same period in 2019.

The first cases of Covid-19 was reported in China on Dec 31 that year.

The Changi figure also represents a 67.7 per cent increase on the total number of flights compared with the same period last year.

The figure covers all flights passing through Changi Airport, including commercial and cargo flights.

This was among data analysed in an online interactive graphic by The Straits Times about the state of the air hub. The data was compiled off information provided by FlightAware, OAG and Our World in Data.

The airport's recovery in flight numbers has thus far been boosted by a booming number of freighter flights, which has surpassed pre-pandemic levels.

The number of commercial flights arriving and departing from the airport remains a fraction of what it was. But it has also grown in recent months, as airlines restart or increase flights in tandem with the opening of quarantine-free vaccinated travel lanes (VTLs).

The road to recovery remains rocky, however, and the emergence of the Covid-19 variant Omicron presents more obstacles.

Mr Mayur Patel, head of Asia at flight data and analytics provider OAG Aviation, said the recently imposed travel restrictions by several countries have resulted in additional Covid-19 testing requirements, creating further uncertainty.

Mr Patel noted that the VTLs have mainly targeted Singaporeans, expatriates and overseas travellers visiting their friends and relatives. This traffic is expected to peak towards January 2022 as the holiday season comes to an end.

"This will result in excess capacity on long-haul markets for which VTLs constitute a large portion of the capacity," said Mr Patel.

"As China remains closed, if the Omicron variant spreads, it will further delay the reopening and will result in prolonged recovery for both tourism and aviation sectors in the Asia-Pacific region."

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