Changi Airport handled 4.42 million passengers in January, down 3.8 per cent year on year, as the number of flights operating came down.
Aircraft movements sank 5.2 per cent to 28,800 take-offs and landings, said airport operator Changi Airport Group (CAG) on Friday, while air-freight movements climbed one per cent to 151,800 tonnes.
"Passenger traffic in January last year was boosted by the Lunar New Year which fell on the last day of the month," said CAG in a press statement. "Notwithstanding this, traffic to and from South Asia grew 5 per cent in January, mainly fuelled by increased travel on India routes."
The airport operator also said that traffic between Singapore and Thailand has been rebounding with traffic up 22 per cent year on year. Bangkok, which is among Changi's top 10 destinations, saw the strongest growth at 34 per cent that month. Travel to Thailand fell last year in the wake of political tensions which culminated in the Thai military seizing control of the country.
Last year, Changi Airport saw 54.1 million passengers, up just 0.7 per cent from 2013, in what was a challenging year for the industry. Josephine Teo, Senior Minister of State for Finance and Transport, said at the Aviation Productivity Conference this week that growth is also likely to be "modest" this year.
Demand for travel out of China slumped last year in the wake of the twin Malaysia Airlines tragedies, while overcapacity in South-east Asia depressed yields and prompted some airlines to curb capacity growth.
Several airlines deferred aircraft deliveries or put expansion plans on hold, a list which included budget carriers such as Tigerair, Jetstar Asia and AirAsia.
Some analysts expect that slower expansion again this year would go a long way in allowing the market to soak up the capacity injected in recent years, which would eventually bode well for yields. Lower jet fuel prices - if sustained - are also likely to bolster bottom lines this year.
In January, budget carrier AirAsia Indonesia introduced a new city link for Changi Airport with its three times weekly service to Solo - Changi's 14th Indonesian city link. Meanwhile, from Feb 1, Myanmar Airways International increased its service to Yangon to 10 times a week.
And Malaysia-based airline Malindo Air increased its daily services to Kuala Lumpur from three to four times daily from Feb 6.
This article was first published on Feb 28, 2015.
Get The Business Times for more stories.