Changi Airport users may have to pay extra as part of expansion tax

SINGAPORE: Passengers flying out of Changi may soon have to pay between S$10 (RM30) and S$15 (RM44) extra, The Sunday Times understands, as part of a new tax being mooted to help pay for a major airport expansion, involving the building of Terminal 5.

Transit passengers could be charged about half the amount.

The tax, which could be imposed from later this year, is expected to be on top of the S$34 (RM101) departure charge (S$6 or RM17.80 for transit passengers), comprising a passenger service fee, a security tax and a levy collected by the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS).

The new tax, which was first reported by The Sunday Times last month, is to help pay for major works in Changi East to help cement Singapore’s air hub status, from the building of mega passenger terminal T5, set to open around 2030, to a third runway.

It also includes ground improvement works at the over 1,000ha site and the building of massive drains and tunnels, some of which will move bags and people between T5 and the current airport.

Passengers will not be alone in bearing higher charges. Fees for airlines, including parking and landing fees, are expected to increase by about 30%, said sources.

The total bill for Changi East is unclear, but it is expected to dwarf the billions spent so far on T4, commercial development Jewel, which opens next year, and the multiple upgrades of the other three terminals in the last two decades.

But even with the new tax on passengers and higher fees from airlines, the Transport Ministry has said the Government will still bear “a large proportion” of total costs for the Changi East project.

Separately, airport operator Changi Airport Group will commit a sizeable portion of its annual profits to the development – not an insignificant amount, given that its profit after tax was around S$660mil (RM1.9bil) in the last financial year.

Asked to comment on the new charges, a ministry spokesman said it had been consulting industry stakeholders together with CAAS.

“Details have not yet been firmed up and we are still considering various options,” the spokesman said.

T5 is expected to eventually handle up to 70 million passengers a year – more than T1, T2 and T3 combined – when completed.

However, the third runway being built in the same project will be operational before that, in the early 2020s.

Business consultant Brendan Choo, 53, who travels a few times a year for work, said while he understood the need for the expansion, he was hesitant at having to pay a tax now for a development that would be completed a decade later.

“Why make me pay for something I may or (may) not use in the future?” he said. — The Straits Times/Asia News Network

Singapore , Changi airport