Singapore commercial aviation’s bounce back

Changi Airport Group celebrates traffic recovery with airline partners at Changi Airline Awards 2023

5 May 2023 | Company Release (Image: Felix Fuchs)

Changi Airport Group (CAG) celebrated a year of strong air traffic recovery and the revival of travel at the Changi Airline Awards (CAA) 2023. Held at Shangri-La Singapore, the annual event was attended by more than 150 representatives from about 70 airlines. Gracing the event was Guest of Honour Mr S. Iswaran, Minister for Transport and Minister-in-charge of Trade Relations. In its 16th year, the CAA recognises airlines for their efforts to strengthening and growing the Singapore air hub.

A total of 24 awards in six award categories were presented to airlines which made the most significant contribution to passenger and airfreight traffic at Changi Airport in 2022. The categories are – Top 5 Airlines by Passenger Carriage and Cargo Carriage, Top Airlines by Absolute Passenger Growth and Absolute Cargo GrowthBest Airline Marketing, and Partner of the Year. A list of all the award winners can be found in Annex A.

Passenger traffic at Changi Airport has grown steadily throughout 2022 and into the first quarter of 2023, with traffic in March 2023 crossing 82% of pre-Covid levels. Across regions, passenger traffic surpassed 2019 levels for North America and Southwest Pacific. Traffic with two other key regions, Europe and West Asia & Africa, recovered close to 2019’s traffic levels.

Top carriers at Changi

Singapore Airlines (SIA) topped the list as the airline with the highest passenger movements and cargo volume for 2022. Other airlines on the list of top airlines by passenger movements are, in order, Scoot, Jetstar Asia, AirAsia and Qantas Airways. For top airlines by cargo carriage, FedEx Express, China Airlines, Aerologic and Scoot registered the highest cargo volume after Singapore Airlines.

Partner of the Year

The Partner of the Year award was presented to SIA. It played a crucial role in driving Changi Airport’s passenger traffic recovery in 2022, as the world began to slowly recover from the pandemic. With the launch of the Vaccinated Travel Framework in April 2022, the airline steadily recovered its passenger flight network and services, with passenger traffic reaching close to 70% of pre-Covid-19 levels by the end of the year.

To raise awareness and boost travel to Singapore as borders progressively reopened, SIA also partnered CAG and the Singapore Tourism Board to launch campaigns to encourage travel and relaunched the Free Singapore Tour.

On the cargo front, SIA’s partnership with DHL Express helped to reinforce Singapore’s status as a critical air cargo and e-commerce logistics hub. Since August 2022, SIA has been operating DHL Express B777 freighters to the United States of America via North Asia points. This is also the first time Changi had received delivery of a home-based freighter aircraft in more than a decade.

Planning for full recovery

With the steadfast support of its airline partners, Changi Airport looks towards full recovery in the coming year with plans to increase handling capacity and enhance the airport experience. Mr Lee Seow Hiang, Chief Executive Officer of CAG said, “In the near-term before Terminal 5’s opening, we will be working on enhancements to expand our capacity as we pursue the next phase of growth. There are upcoming plans to redesign Terminal 1’s Arrival Immigration Halls. Besides providing a more spacious hall, we are also working with ICA (Immigration and Checkpoints Authority) to increase the number of automated lanes from 12 to over 40 at each hall. When completed around 2025, the new arrival immigration halls will have 60% more queue holding capacity, and 40% more throughput.”

Mr Lee also said that CAG is working on transforming the passenger journey through Changi Airport into a passport-less one, with first trials targetted for June 2023 at Terminal 3, and airlines to be progressively onboarded. In addition, for the Terminal 5 development, Mr Lee shared that tenders for construction will be called next year, with groundbreaking to take place in 2025.

“As Changi Airport aims for full recovery, the unwavering commitment of our closely-knit airport community will propel us to greater heights in our pursuit of maintaining our position as the world’s best airport for years to come,” added Mr Lee.