With the relaxation of travel restrictions in April, last year has seen a substantial recovery for Singapore’s Changi International Airport. The airport saw passenger and flight movements rise steadily through the months, and even welcomed eight new airlines and became the hub for four new routes. Let’s dive into the recovery of the Changi Air Hub for 2022.
Flooding with aircraft and passengers
Although only Terminals 1 and 3 were opened at the beginning of last year, the first 10 months of 2022 saw Changi Airport handling 23.6 million passenger movements, representing approximately 42% of pre-pandemic levels. Aircraft movements, which include landings and take-offs, totaled about 170,000, an estimated 53% of pre-pandemic levels.
To cater to rising demand and evening out capacity, the air hub eventually reopened Terminal 4 in September and the southern wing of the newly-renovated Terminal 2 the following month. And the recovery statistics kept improving as of October 2022, Changi Airport handled 3.69 million passenger movements, representing about 65% of that handled in October 2019.
Photo: HasanZaidi | Shutterstock
Approximately 21,800 aircraft movements were registered in the same month, about 68% of that recorded in October 2019. And finally, in the first week of December 2022, 95 airlines operate over 5,500 weekly scheduled flights at Changi Airport, connecting Singapore to some 140 cities in 48 countries and territories worldwide. This was 82% of the air hub’s pre-pandemic capacity.
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Increasing connectivities from Singapore
While the passenger numbers surged along a steady recovery rate, Changi Airport became a hub for some eight new airlines it welcomed in 2022. These include a mix of full-service, low-cost, and also freighter operators, such as Aircalin, Atlas Air, Bamboo Airways, Cambodia Airways, Citilink, HK Express, Thai VietJet, and T’way Air.
With new airlines come new routes, as the air hub also added four new destinations to its extensive network. These include Noumea in New Caledonia, Jeju Island in South Korea, Pune in India, and Sibu in Malaysia. Network recovery has been as fundamental for Changi Airport as network expansions, and for the first 10 months of 2022, the airport’s top five country markets were Australia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand.
Photo: Ryken Martin | Shutterstock
However, the more robust network recovery came from the regions of North America, whereby traffic levels rebounded strongly to exceed pre-pandemic levels. In the South Asia market, all pre-pandemic city links were re-established, and for Europe, the air hub almost returned to the pre-pandemic level of flight frequencies.
Better facilitation of global trade
And albeit the global airfreight economy took quite the downturn last year, Changi Airport still managed to register more than 1.5 million tonnes of air cargo throughput from January to October. The air hub also welcomed the partnership between DHL Express and Singapore Airlines to operate five Boeing 777 freighters to routes between the US and Singapore via points in North Asia and Australia.
The airport’s top five cargo markets were Australia, China, Hong Kong, Japan, and the US. Despite the ongoing global challenges like inflationary pressures, airfreight seems to be still a bright spot for Changi Airport as it continues to facilitate worldwide trade and support the flow of essential goods into Singapore and onwards to the surrounding region.
Photo: Preston Fiedler
Last year was certainly fulfilling for Changi Airport, and it’s undoubted that 2023 will be even more fruitful for the air hub. China’s reopening will see increased passenger and aircraft traffic as Chinese airlines return to Changi Airport, and frequencies will also be ramped up to cater to the pent-up demand. The first quarter of this year will also see notable returns to the airport, such as Ethiopian Airlines with a four-weekly flight service from March 25th.
Singapore Changi Airport
- IATA/ICAO Code:
- Lee Seow Hiang
- Passenger Count :
- 3,053,000 (2021)
- Runways :
- 02L/20R – 4,000m (13,123ft) |02C/20C – 4,000m (13,123ft) |02R/20L – 4,000m (13,123ft)
- Terminal 1 |Terminal 2 |Terminal 3 |Terminal 4 |JetQuay CIP Terminal