SINGAPORE - Changi's upcoming Terminal 4 will be a do-it-yourself haven with everything from check-in to bag tagging, immigration clearance and pre-boarding checks made available on self-service machines.
The only human contact for those who pick the DIY track will be at security.
Unlike at Terminals 1, 2 and 3 where checks are done twice - once before immigration and again just before boarding - T4 will have centralised security screening when it opens in 2017.
Once travellers enter the restricted area, there will be no further inspections.
The push for automation, widely used in airports in Europe and the United States but less in Asia, is to reduce reliance on manpower in a tight labour market, said Changi Airport Group (CAG), which broke ground on the new facility on Tuesday.
Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew told the gathering: "We should envisage a large number of passengers being able to get easily and efficiently from check- in all the way to the airplane without having to queue for service or checks by service personnel, but always having someone readily at hand to assist if necessary."
It will take time for travellers to get used to the DIY mode but Ms Poh Li San, CAG's vice-president in charge of the T4 project, is confident it will happen.
The T4 automation project will serve as a test bed for T5, the next big terminal due to be built by the middle of the next decade, she said.
Another major challenge for the team is how to integrate T4 with the other terminals. Unlike Terminals 1, 2 and 3, which are linked physically, the T4 site - where the Budget Terminal was located - is 2km from the main airport complex.
An airside shuttle will be provided for T4 travellers with connecting flights at the other terminals, so they will not have to exit and re-enter restricted areas.