SINGAPORE- I was surprised and concerned to read about the high cost for Project Jewel ("Project Jewel at Changi Airport to cost $1.47b"; last Saturday).
It is unclear how this expensive complex, 70 per cent of which will be retail space, will give our airport an edge over other competing air hubs.
It is also unclear who it is targeting - visitors, residents, airport staff, or all three.
When travellers arrive at their destination, they want to get out of the airport as quickly as possible.
Similarly, departing visitors are unlikely to make it a priority to visit shops, eateries or leisure attractions located outside the departure gates of the airport.
If the project is primarily aimed at attracting residents to Changi Airport, the question then is: Why is that necessary?
Why use up valuable land at Changi to build another shopping mall? Why not have an aviation museum or something related to the airport?
A smaller-scale project to cater for a hotel, airport operations, airport staff facilities, and fly-cruise and fly-coach passengers would suffice.
This would free up land for facilities that will make a real difference to our competitiveness as an air hub, for example, more runways and aircraft parking bays, or more space for passenger lounges.
We should also stop building iconic projects which may just end up as vanity showpieces that bring little tangible benefits to Singaporeans.
The money saved can be put to better use to meet more pressing needs in areas such as health care, education, transport and housing.
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