SINGAPORE: Travellers at Changi Airport will have to watch the clock if they do not want to miss their flights.
From Jan 1, there will no longer be final call announcements for passengers to head to their boarding gates. Airlines will also stop paging for specific passengers.
Only essential announcements will be made including those pertaining to emergencies, lost and found children and passports, flight delays, gate changes and belt changes.
Changi Airport Group (CAG) said that the cessation of certain announcements will help ensure that passengers and visitors will pay attention as and when announcements are made.
It will also make Changi a more pleasant and quiet airport, with the number of announcements set to be halved with the new initiative.
"With more flights and passengers, maintaining the present frequency of announcements will mean noisier terminals and more interruptions in time to come. One concern is that passengers may pay less attention to the announcements made over the public address system, crowding out the more critical announcements," said CAG spokesman Ivan Tan.
Currently, each terminal sees an average of one announcement made about every five minutes, he said.
In 2014 when the airport asked airlines to either make a final call for boarding or page for passengers - instead of doing both - there was no observable impact on the number passengers showing up late for their flights, Tan said.
Commenting on the latest initiative, Jetstar Group spokesman Robin Goh said: "Final boarding announcements and paging for late passengers serve as final reminders to all passengers and, hence, they help contribute to the on-time performance of airlines and Changi Airport."
While many other major international airports have started adopting this "silent airport" trend, "it will impact all airlines operating out of Changi Airport and their passengers", he said.
In Hong Kong, there are no final call or boarding announcements and name paging is done only for special reasons.
At Hamad International Airport in Doha, only security, generic boarding and prayer calls are made. These are automatically scheduled by the announcement system.
At Brussels Airport, only emergency announcements are made.
To prepare for the change, CAG has requested all airlines to emphasise the boarding time to their passengers when they check in for their flights and to advise them to be at the gate on time.
Messages will also be displayed on the various flight information display screens, Changi Airport website and iChangi app to inform passengers of the cessation of the final calls.
Changi Airport has more than 600 analogue and digital clocks in both the public and transit areas in all four terminals for passengers' easy reference, Tan said.
"Passengers are advised to plan ahead and be at the boarding gates on time for a stress-free journey," he added. – The Straits Times/Asia News Network
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