Changi Airport closes 2nd terminal as flights reach record lows

Changi Airport Group

Singapore’s Changi Airport is suspending operations at Terminal 4 indefinitely as flights reach record lows amid the COVID-19 crisis. This is already the second terminal closure at the airport within a month’s span. 

Changi Airport (SIN) would suspend operations in Terminal 4 (T4) starting from May 16, 2020, the airport has revealed on May 12, 2020. The airport expects the move will help it to save on running costs (such as utilities or cleaning). Airlines would be moved to one of the two airport’s terminals left operational: T1 or T3. 

The indefinite T4 closure comes as no surprise. In mid-April 2020, SIN already indicated that only a small number of flights were left at the terminal, where operations had been scaled down “considerably”. Only a few aircraft boarding gates were kept in use, while shops were allowed to close early after the last flight for the day.

Cathay Pacific and Korean Air were the first two airlines to inhabit the Terminal 4, when it opened the doors on October 31, 2017. However, in the COVID-19 crisis, Cathay Pacific temporarily moved to Terminal 1 in mid-April 2020. Korean Air would also make the same move to T1, according to the airport. 

As of May 12, 2020, the airport lists 13 airlines operating from the Terminal 4: Air Asia, Cebu Pacific, Go Airlines, GX Airlines (Guangxi Beibu Gulf Airlines), Hainan Airlines, Jeju Air, Juneyao Airlines, Korean Air, Regent Airways, Spring Airlines, Urumqi Air, Vietjet Air, and Vietnam Airlines. The website also indicates no scheduled departures or arrivals in Terminal 4 within three days (May 11-13, 2020). New terminals for these carriers, except Korean air, would be announced when they resume flights at Changi, the airport announced. 

T4 is the second terminal that Changi Airport suspends within a month’s span. The halt of T2 operations was announced in mid-April, and came into effect on May 1, 2020. Contrary to the T4, T2 would remain closed for a fixed amount of time, 18 months. The airport is planning to use the time of (flights) inactivity to accelerate and complete expansions works there. T2 completion was previously scheduled in 2024, but now the airport expects the deadline could be brought forward by up to one year.

In normal times, a flight takes off or lands in Changi Airport once every 80 seconds. After all, the airport serves 100 airlines, flying to some 400 destinations worldwide, and handles around 65.6 million passengers per year. 

However, traffic at Changi Airport has dropped dramatically in the last few months. In April 2020, it handled 3,870 aircraft movements ‒ a sharp contrast to 31,500 in April 2019. Prior to the COVID-19 crisis, the airport used to handle around 7,400 flights (landing or departing) per week.

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