SINGAPORE - A new $80 million passenger terminal will open at Seletar Airport in December, to provide more space for Singapore's private and business jet traffic to grow, and free up capacity at Changi Airport for larger planes.
The new facility - six times bigger than the current terminal - is designed to handle up to 700,000 passengers a year.
The departure area will have four check-in counters, six immigration lanes, two security screening stations and a gatehold room big enough for about 200 passengers.
A separate section with a dedicated check-in and waiting area will serve passengers travelling on chartered business flights and private jets, said Mr Khoh Su Lim, associate general manager of Seletar Airport, which is managed by Changi Airport Group.
To free up capacity at Changi, scheduled turboprop flights will be moved to Seletar when the new terminal opens, he said.
At the moment, only Malaysia's Firefly operates turboprops at Changi Airport. It currently offers 20 daily flights at Changi Airport - to and from Subang, Ipoh and Kuantan.
Firefly passengers, who now pay $47.30 in airport fees and levies at Changi, will pay $29 when the airline moves to Seletar.
The opening of the new terminal at Seletar will allow the airline to grow its operations and attract other airlines that also operate turboprops, experts said.
Turboprops, which come with propellers, fly at lower altitudes, and are able to land at smaller airports with short runways, unlike most jet planes.
Mr Christophe Potocki, general manager for South-east Asia and Pacific at turboprop manufacturer ATR, noted that airlines that wanted to launch flights to Changi Airport using turboprop aircraft were hampered in recent years due to slot constraints.
He told The Straits Times: "There is potential for air operators to launch new services linking Singapore to more destinations in Peninsular Malaysia and neighbouring Sumatra. This will reinforce Singapore's position as an international air hub and help to bring more business travellers and tourists to Singapore."
ATR estimates that more than four in 10 turboprops expected to be delivered over the next 20 years will be for Asian customers.
The construction of the new passenger terminal at Seletar is part of a renewal of the airport located within Seletar Aerospace Park, which houses more than 60 aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul firms.
Since 2008, Seletar Airport has seen several enhancements, including the lengthening of its runway, the construction of a new control tower and fire station, a doubling of the number of parking stands, additional taxiways and upgraded aircraft parking aprons.