Coronavirus: 50% rental rebate for Changi Airport shops, free parking for passenger planes

Visitors wearing masks as they shop at the duty-free stores in the transit area at Changi Airport Terminal 3 on Feb 14, 2020. ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

SINGAPORE - Shops and eateries at Changi Airport will need to pay only half of their rent for six months starting from Feb 1, as part of assistance measures announced in the Budget on Tuesday (Feb 18).

Apart from essential retail or food and beverage (F&B) outlets, operating hours for tenants in the transit area will also be shortened, with those in the public area given the option to do so, Changi Airport Group (CAG) said in a statement on Thursday.

Details of adjusted hours for each tenant are on the airport's website.

This comes after Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat on Tuesday announced a $112 million package for the aviation sector to help defray business costs, protect jobs and safeguard the airport's air connectivity.

The package includes a 15 per cent property tax rebate, which CAG will receive from the Government and will be fully passed on to shops.

In its statement, CAG said the measures aim to help its over 540 shops and F&B outlets tide over the challenging retail climate due to the outbreak of Covid-19, as the coronavirus disease is now known.

The rebate is on top of automatic cuts in rents that kick in for airport tenants when passenger traffic slows.

CAG said it is also discussing how to ease the pressure on and grow sales for more badly hit stores.

Airport tenants have welcomed the relief measures.

Mr Jeff Lee, managing director of Shilla Travel Retail, said that the coronavirus situation has affected sales in the company's airport stores, particularly from the drop in the number of Chinese passengers who were among its top customers.

"Although we will see an adjustment to total rental with the decline in passenger traffic, the additional assistance from CAG will help our business during this challenging period," he said.

Bengawan Solo director Henry Liew said that CAG's support "comes at a critical time amid the current climate" due to the virus outbreak.

"CAG's support will help our business, even as we continue to manage costs, keep jobs and remain positive," he added.

Apart from shops, the Budget's relief package for the aviation sector will also help airlines and the related cargo industry.

The worst-hit airlines, which are those that had planned flights between mainland China and Singapore before the outbreak, will get landing credits.

Those that continue to operate such flights now will get a full rebate on their landing charges.

There will also be full parking charge rebates for all scheduled passenger flights, and 10 per cent off the landing charge for all such flights to Singapore from South-east Asian locations.

Freighter airlines will get 10 per cent off landing charges, while cargo agents who are tenants of Changi Airfreight Centre will get 10 per cent off their rent as well.

A planned 1 per cent increase in landing, parking and aerobridge charges for all flights, which would have kicked in on April 1, has also been waived for six months.

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