SINGAPORE - Changi Airport's Terminal 2 is getting an extreme makeover, to allow the airport to handle even more passengers and to secure Singapore's status as a key aviation hub in the region.
When completed by 2024, T2 will be able to handle up to five million more passengers a year, taking Changi's total capacity to 90 million passengers a year.
The two iconic flight information display flip boards - the backdrop to many holiday snapshots - will also be retired, with the one between check-in rows 9 and 10 to be decommissioned next month.
The boards will be replaced by digital screens and repurposed, Changi Airport Group (CAG) said at a briefing on Thursday (Jan 16), adding that it was becoming increasingly harder to maintain them.
Last refurbished in 2006, the refreshed T2 will feature more greenery and provide more space for travellers and visitors.
There will also be more self-service check-in facilities, new baggage belts and refreshed food and beverage offerings, said CAG.
The terminal will continue to operate and receive passengers during the makeover, said CAG's executive vice-president of airport management, Mr Tan Lye Teck.
"Upgrades in the key operating infrastructure such as the baggage handling systems will enhance the terminal's capacity and efficiency, allowing us to service more airlines and passengers when the works are completed," Mr Tan said.
More automated check-in kiosks and bag-drop machines will be added to the central Fast and Seamless Travel (Fast) zone in the middle of the departure hall, which will boost T2's passenger handling capacity by some 20 per cent, said CAG.
To handle a higher volume of bags, two existing baggage belts will be lengthened and another two new belts added, bringing the total number of baggage belts to 10.
The Early Baggage Storage system will also be upgraded from semi-automated to fully-automated, allowing about 2,300 bags to be stored at any time.
Travellers and visitors can also look forward to new food and beverage (F&B) offerings.
For example, a duplex F&B concept will be introduced at the north end of T2's landside leading to Jewel Changi Airport.
To cater for more retail and dining offerings, the commercial spaces within the departure transit hall will be increased.
In particular, the food street areas along the length of the hall and overlooking the tarmac will undergo refurbishment.
Designed to provide passengers with a garden dining experience, this area will incorporate green walls, hanging plants and soft lighting.
More F&B kiosks options will also be brought in, along with additional seating and a newly curated tenant mix for a new dining experience.
In the public areas, McDonald's in the arrival hall will close on Jan 31, while Starbucks in the departure hall will cease operations in April 2020.
The remaining F&B outlets in T2's public areas will remain open for passengers and visitors until the later phases of the expansion works.
To facilitate the expansion works, some airlines operating in T2 will be shifted to alternative check-in rows within the terminal during the course of works.
In a Facebook post on Thursday, Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan reiterated the importance of growing Changi Airport's capacity to meet growing travel demands within the Asia-Pacific region.
Terminal 2's upgrade is to "keep up with demand and rising expectation", he wrote.