SINGAPORE (The Straits Times/Asia News Network): Changi Airport Terminal 2 (T2) will reopen in phases from this year, with the number of travellers passing through the airport expected to increase in the coming months.
T2's upgrading had been going on for most of the last two years after it was closed in May 2020 owing to the low passenger numbers caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Transport Minister S. Iswaran said on Wednesday (March 30) that Terminal 4, which has also been closed since May 2020, can be reopened at relatively short notice as well.
But he noted that the reopening of terminals will have to depend on various other circumstances.
"Opening up a terminal incurs significant overheads and in terms of manpower, everything, so it's not something where you can just open one gate or two gates at a time," said Mr Iswaran, who was speaking to the media after a visit to the airport.
"What we really need to do is make sure that we are now at the next quantum leap in the flow of passengers."
Iswaran added that Terminal 1 and Terminal 3 will remain the central channels through which the airport will manage passenger flows.
In response to a question from the media about plans for the mega Changi Airport Terminal 5 (T5), Iswaran said Singapore's assessment is that passenger traffic will continue to grow in spite of the setback dealt by Covid-19.
He added that the growth will be present especially in the Asia-Pacific, with the industry holding a similar view as well.
"When you take a long-term view, the case is clearer... It is about how we make that long-term decision while mitigating some of the risks that might emerge," he said.
The authorities are thus working on that and will make an announcement in due course, he said.
His comments came ahead of the two-year mark in the suspension of the construction of T5.
Then Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan had said in June 2020 that the Government will take at least a two-year pause on T5's construction amid uncertainty about how the Covid-19 pandemic will change the aviation sector.
He said then that the Government will study how the aviation sector will change, and that the design of T5 will be changed to take into account new safety requirements.
T5 was scheduled to be completed around 2030. It covers a land area equivalent to about 667 football fields and was earmarked to provide future capacity for the airport to ride on the projected growth in air travel.
It was supposed to handle up to 50 million passengers a year in its initial phase.
This, along with T2's upgrading works, would have brought Changi Airport's total passenger handling capacity to around 140 million passengers a year.