The numbers continue to rise, with the latest data showing a 7.8 per cent growth in traffic last month to 5.17 million passengers, compared with April last year. With a fourth passenger terminal opening later this year and plans for T5 in full swing, the expansion will more than double Changi’s annual handling capacity to 150 million passengers eventually. Mr Ho is confident that the capacity will be utilised as demand for air travel is expected to continue to grow strongly.
The challenge for Changi Airport will be to ensure that passenger comfort and convenience are not compromised when T5 – which will eventually be bigger than T1, T2 and T3 combined – opens, Mr Ho said. “T5 is a totally different ball game and will present new challenges we are not familiar with… We don’t have all the answers yet, but we will,” he said.
Changi is working with its partners, including ground-handling firm Sats, to push automation and do-it-yourself processes that will allow the airport to rely less on manpower. Veteran Sats staff member Augustine Lim, 53, who works with airlines to ensure that aircraft are loaded correctly, is excited about the future. He said: “Changi has come a long way in 36 years. It is much busier now, which adds to operational challenges. But automation and technology, which have totally transformed the way we work, have helped us manage the higher loads.”