Singapore Airport Closes Another Terminal As Demand Remains Low

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Singapore’s Changi Airport has decided to temporarily shut terminal four from the 16 May, as the demand for travel dries up flights. The airport had already closed terminal two and will be saving on labor and facility costs.

Singapore airport
Singapore’s Changi Airport Terminal Four. Photo: Changi Airport

What is the story so far?

Singapore’s Changi Airport has been struck by the COVID-19 crisis, already closing a whole terminal, thanks to a lack of traffic. Not only are fewer passengers flying than ever before, but Singapore (the country) banned transit passengers passing through its hub airport completely. The airport is a major stop for travelers in South East Asia, as well as those on longer journeys around the world (such as the Kangaroo Route from Sydney and Melbourne to London).

The silver lining of this crisis was that the airport could race ahead with plans to upgrade and rejuvenate the second terminal. The airport was planning to work on the terminal while in operation and full of passengers. Still, the shut down has given a chance to move all services to the other terminals to work uninterrupted.

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Alas, operations have been so slow that the airport has decided to close an additional terminal.

What happened next?

Singapore Airlines, based out of the airport with a fleet of 136 aircraft, only has around 16 planes currently operating (passenger and cargo aircraft) as of today. These numbers are so low that the airport doesn’t need to keep all three whole terminals (plus its additional facilities like the Jewel Mall) operational.

Flight Radar
A live snapshot of the Singapore aircraft currently in flight. Photo: Flight Radar 24

As such, the airport authority has decided to close down terminal four, moving flights and operations to the remaining two terminals one and three.

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In an article outlined by TTR weekly, the airport issued how this transition will work.

  • Airlines operating out of terminal four at Singapore’s airport will run out of terminals one and three instead. Some airlines that are affected are Cathay Pacific, AirAsia and Korean Air, which will now operate out of terminal one.
  • All services in terminal four (such as lounges, food and shops) will be closed.

In addition to these closures, the airport will be reducing shuttle bus services, consolidating taxi ranks to only two locations and reducing the frequency of the Skytrain. The Jewel mall, in the middle of the airport and famous for having the world’s biggest inside waterfall, will remain open although some shops may be closed to enforce social distancing.

Singapore’s Changi Airport is famous for its interior waterfall. Photo: Chris Loh/Simple Flying

The terminal will only reopen when flights and passenger demand returns. There is no set date at this stage.

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“The timing of this will depend on when air travel demand picks up and on the requirements of airlines seeking to relaunch flights at Changi Airport.”

While it is a shame to see an airport slowly shut down bit by bit, the savings that they will make from reduced operations and mothballing terminals will help in the long run.

What do you think of this move? Will you be flying to Singapore soon? Let us know in the comments.

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