Changi heads for a record year

CHANGI Airport appears on track for another record year as passenger numbers for January to November totalled some 48.6 million, a 5.1 per cent year-on-year increase.

Last year, the airport crossed the 50-million mark with passenger traffic hitting a record 51.2 million, boosted by strong traffic from key regions and increasing transit flows.

While figures for December have not been released yet, this month is typically a strong one for passenger numbers, thanks to the year-end holidays.

A spokesman for Tigerair said the budget carrier expects to carry more passengers for 2013 as a whole compared to last year. In a statement yesterday, airport operator Changi Airport Group (CAG) said Changi handled 4.46 million passenger movements in November, or 2.3 per cent more year-on-year.

"Growth in travel demand was strongest for Indonesia, Japan, and Malaysia among Changi Airport's top 10 markets," said CAG. "Traffic to and from Bali, Kuala Lumpur and Tokyo similarly rose by more than 10 per cent over the corresponding period last year."

Air traffic movements for November rose 6.9 per cent to 29,500 flights, while air freight movements grew 2.4 per cent year-on-year, with 161,000 tonnes of cargo handled during the month.

Cargo traffic growth has lagged behind that of passenger traffic, as it edged up 0.9 per cent year-to-date to 1.7 million tonnes.

Aircraft movements totalled 312,800 year-to-date, up 5.8 per cent.

This year, the International Air Transport Association (Iata) expects global cargo demand and cargo revenue to remain flattish at 51.6 million tonnes and US$60 billion respectively, hit by weak demand and lower yields with additional bellyhold capacity coming from new passenger planes as airlines expand their fleet. At nearly 40 per cent, Asia-Pacific carriers hold the biggest share of the global cargo market.

In an update on operations, CAG noted that China Southern, Tigerair and China Eastern started services to Guilin, Ningbo and Wuxi respectively, maintaining Changi's position as the South-east Asian hub most connected to China. The airport currently has flights to 30 cities in China.

Meanwhile, a third Bangladeshi carrier, Regent Airways, has started operating at Changi, having launched a five-times weekly service between Singapore and Dhaka, while budget carrier Scoot has commenced a five-times weekly service to Perth, taking its network to 13 destinations.

More than 100 airlines operate at Changi, linking the city-state to 275 cities across some 60 countries and territories.

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