Changi Airport could face runway crunch

Changi Airport could face runway crunch

SINGAPORE - Changi's planners have unveiled ambitious plans for the airport after an 18-month study.

A 1,000ha piece of barren land adjacent to the existing premises will be developed for a mega-terminal to cater for up to 50 million travellers a year - more than T2 and T3 combined.

When the new T5 opens in the middle of the next decade, Changi will be one of the world's biggest airports, with room for 135 million passengers a year.

London's Heathrow - the world's busiest international airport - welcomed about 70 million passengers last year.

Also in the pipeline at the new Changi East site: new MRT links and underground rail transfers for passengers between the existing terminals and T5. Hotels and offices, as well as facilities for air freight and aircraft repair, will be built too.

Before the new facility opens, Changi Airport will have a third runway around 2020 to handle more flights.

The plans announced last Friday by then Minister of State for Transport Josephine Teo, who leads a 10-member multi-agency committee studying Changi's expansion, look good on paper.

Expansion is critical for Singapore to remain the premier air hub amid keen contest from other airports in Malaysia, Thailand, South Korea, Hong Kong and Dubai, to name just a few.

But is Changi adding capacity fast enough? A scrutiny of the plans shows cause for concern.

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