There was little chatter over the air traffic control radio as the historic flight approached Changi Airport at sunrise.”We had the whole sky to ourselves,” recalled Singapore Airlines Captain Gan Kim Hock.
It was July 1, 1981, and he was first officer on Flight SQ101 – the very first scheduled commercial flight to land at the spanking new $1.5 billion Singapore Changi Airport. “I was just a new first officer living my dream of flying and, there I was, making history with Changi Airport,” Capt Gan told The Straits Times.
About an hour earlier, the Boeing 727 aircraft had taken off from Kuala Lumpur airport, with 140 “excited” passengers on board. In the cockpit with him were Captain T.K. Pow and Assistant Chief Flight Engineer P.H. Cheah. “It was fantastic… The first thing we saw was the iconic control tower at Changi. Looking down at the airport and the space around the control tower and the terminal building, we could see it was going to expand a lot more,” said Captain Gan, 59.