Transit travellers to pay less at Changi

CHANGI Airport Group (CAG) is to reduce its service charge for passengers transferring or transiting here, shaving $6 off the airport tax on their plane tickets.

Senior Minister of State for Finance and Transport Josephine Teo announced at the group's annual airline awards ceremony last night that the charge will be lowered from $9 to $3 as of July 1.

CAG is also set to reduce franchise fees for ground handlers by 20 per cent. Lower operation fees for ground service providers like Sats means it will be more affordable for airlines to use Changi Airport.

The new rebates and concessions are on top of those from the Growth and Assistance Incentive programme launched by CAG last year, which offers monetary incentives for carriers that bring in more transfer passengers.

Mrs Teo said the programme will be extended beyond this year, but warned in her speech that it is likely to be a challenging year for Changi Airport and the aviation sector, which is recovering from a spate of air accidents worldwide.

"Passenger movement in the first few months did not grow as strongly as they did last year, reflecting the tepid mood in air travel," she added.

All of these measures are aimed at helping airlines and passengers cut costs of up to $180 million over the next two years, she said. "We hope this will also encourage airlines to strengthen (their) Singapore-based operations."

The Changi Airline Awards ceremony was held at the Conrad Centennial hotel last night.

British Airways won the top honour as Changi Airport's partner of the year. The award recognises the airline's contributions to Changi Airport as its largest European carrier, which operates twice-daily flights between London and Singapore.

British Airways executive chairman Keith Williams announced at the ceremony that the airline will increase its passenger capacity on the route by using the larger A-380 planes for four of its flights that relied on smaller jets.

Previously, the A-380 operated only three times a week. The switch to operating the larger aircraft daily will increase seating capacity by 15 per cent, he said. The total number of flights remains the same.

The airline will also launch a refurbished lounge at Changi Airport in the third quarter of this year.

Regional commercial manager Robert Williams said the award is a recognition of British Airways' commitment to Singapore.

"It is a huge accolade to receive this award, especially this year, when Singapore is celebrating SG50," he said. "It is an honour to be a part of Singapore's rich aviation history, as we have been flying here since 1933."

The airline will be celebrating by offering promotional fares for customers here.

In two separate categories, national carrier Singapore Airlines retained its top spots as the largest airline by number of passengers carried and for total tonnage of cargo carried.

This article was first published on April 24, 2015.
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