Traffic at Singapore’s Changi airport is recovering faster than initially expected, thanks to easing COVID-19 travel restrictions across Asia, the country’s transport minister has announced.  

Minister S Iswaran, told parliament on October 3 that Changi airport could reach 80% of 2019’s traffic levels in 2022, according to comments reported by Flight Global. He said this was based on airlines’ flight schedules.   

“We expect [flights – ed. note] to increase further as airlines respond to demand from travelers, following the recent border easing announcements by key travel markets such as Hong Kong, Japan and Taiwan,” the minister was quoted as saying. 

The forecast represents an improvement, because it was predicted earlier that traffic levels at Changi would only reach 50% of pre-pandemic levels in 2022. 

Singapore Changi is preparing for recovery in passenger numbers, by reopening more of its main terminals following COVID-related shutdowns. It reopened Terminal 4 on September 13, 2022, and will reopen the southern wing of Terminal 2 for departure operations on October 11.  

The comments from the transport minister come after Singapore Airlines (SIA1) (SINGY) said it was boosting its East Asia services to meet increased demand. In a statement on October 3, 2022, SIA said it was adding flights to countries such as Japan, South Korea and China.   

“Buoyed by the further easing of entry requirements in Hong Kong SAR, Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan, China we are seeing strong demand for air travel towards the year-end holiday season,” commented JoAnn Tan, Senior Vice President Marketing Planning, Singapore Airlines (SIA1) (SINGY).  

Iswaran also told parliament that the aviation sector has been ramping up hiring – with companies looking to take in another 4,000 workers by the end of the year.