Changi celebrates life of Lee Kuan Yew with LKY100 Jewel exhibition 

By Kristiane Sherry |

Changi Airport is hosting an exhibition coinciding with wider LKY100 celebrations to mark the life of Lee Kuan Yew.

The team at Singapore Changi Airport have announced a new exhibition to celebrate the life of Lee Kuan Yew, coinciding with wider LKY100 events.

Lee Kuan Yew is broadly considered to be the founding father of modern Singapore, and LKY100 marks the centenary of the year of his birth.

Named ‘The Courage to Dream – The Making of the Changi Airport Story’, the Jewel exhibition celebrates Lee’s commitment to the founding of the airport, and his role in its success. 

The show runs until 30 September at Cloud9 Piazza, Level 5 of Jewel Changi Airport, after which it will move to another location. 

Formatted as a walkthrough space, the exhibition features six interactive zones, commemorating Lee’s “visionary leadership, boldness and conviction”.

Displays depict untold stories using rarely seen archival content spanning a the period of time from the 1960s to the present day. 

Four zones cover the beginnings of Changi Airport, up until the 2000s. The first chapter, Growing Pains, tells the story of Paya Lebar Airport. It also shows the first mentions of a move from the city centre airfield to what would become Changi. 

LKY100 Changi exhibition

The immersive space features six chapters.

Chapter 2, Dreams are Made of Struggles, shows that the move was far from straightforward. Trade-offs included impact to surroundings, expansion potential, time pressures, and cost. The 1973 oil crisis was a surprise opportunity in the move to Changi, buying Lee more time. 

LKY100: Bold decisions for Changi

In Chapters 3 and 4, the story of how Changi came to be unfolds. From Lee’s visit to Boston Logan in 1975 to the start of construction in 1977, a pivotal period in Singapore’s history is depicted. Changi eventually opened on 1 July 1981. 

Chapter 5, the Pursuit of Excellence, features anecdotes of how Lee and the airport’s founders drove Changi’s growth as a vibrant air hub. The exhibition covers the more recent history of the aviation centre up to the opening of Jewel in 2019. 

Building on the Dream, the sixth and final chapter, muses on the future of aviation beyond 2023. Themes include the Changi East development, which involves a new Terminal 5. 

Visitors can explore the history of Singapore aviation from 1960 up to present day – and get a glimpse of the future.

“Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s bold decision to relocate Singapore’s airport from Paya Lebar to Changi marked a pivotal moment in aviation history,” said Jayson Goh, Executive Vice President of Airport Management, Changi Airport Group.

“To this day, we continue to be deeply grateful for the vision, courage and conviction demonstrated by Mr Lee and our pioneering airport leaders, which paved the way for Changi Airport’s growth over the past decades and beyond. 

“We hope to inspire and educate the community through these lesser-told stories, which highlight the values that made Changi Airport possible and still guide how we run the airport today.”

Earlier this year, Changi Airport Group revealed plans to unfurl new retail spaces at its Terminal 1 east wing.


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