Changi May traffic +2.0% to 4.37m

By Doug Newhouse |

Singapore Changi Airport handled 4.37m passengers in May 2014 (+2.0%) compared to the same period in 2013 as flight movements rose marginally by 1.7% to 28,930.


The growth in passenger traffic was supported by an increase in air travel between Singapore and Northeast Asia, South Asia and Southwest Pacific, offset by weaker performance on some Southeast Asian routes. Among Changi Airport’s top 10 country markets, Hong Kong and Vietnam registered double-digit increases. Travel to and from Thailand continued to be impacted by the political situation, decreasing by 17%, with Bangkok and Phuket traffic dropping by 24% and 7% respectively.


Between January and May 2014, 21.95m passengers were recorded at Changi, up 1.8% against the same period in 2013. This follows the record breaking 12-month rolling total recorded a month earlier at the end of April when Changi passed the 54m-passenger level for the first time [54.02m passengers-Ed].


Compared with May, the April 2014 results saw the increase in passenger traffic supported by an increase in air travel between Singapore and all regions except the Americas. Among Changi’s top 10 country markets in April, passenger movements to and from Hong Kong, India, Indonesia and Japan registered double-digit increases. However, Thailand and China traffic registered declines of 15% and 8% respectively.


The recently announced introduction of Changi’s wide-ranging Growth and Assistance Incentive (GAIN) programme for this year will undoubtedly improve the airport’s performance, whether a consistent ‘slowdown’ occurs or not at Changi.




The Changi Airport Group announced last month that it is committing a very significant total of S$100m ($80.1m) through various initiatives and measures aimed at lowering costs for airlines, boosting passenger traffic and improving operational efficiencies. It says this should help to strengthen its hub status and anchor Singapore as a major air gateway to and from the region.


From 1 July 2014 to 30 June 2015, all airlines operating at Changi Airport will enjoy an across-the-board reduction in operating costs including rebates of 50% on aircraft parking fees and 15% on aerobridge fees. CAG will also introduce a new package to reward airlines for growing transfer traffic at Changi.


CAG adds that it also wants to work with airlines to raise terminal operational efficiencies and is prepared to provide funding support ‘where appropriate’. It cites the example where airlines are being encouraged to come onboard the FAST@Changi initiative which covers a range of self-service options for departing passengers.


To stimulate traffic demand, CAG says it will invest in destination marketing campaigns to promote Singapore in major source markets like Australia, China, India, Indonesia and Russia. It also plans to work with the Singapore Tourism Board as well as travel partners in these markets to increase the awareness of Singapore and spur travel demand from these countries. These efforts will also support the development of new city links to Singapore.


All of this and more is aimed growing the business, while protecting it at the same time since CAG says that while passenger traffic at Changi Airport has grown strongly since the industry’s recovery following the global financial crisis in 2008/09, a number of underlying market factors – some unique to the region – contributed to traffic at Changi registering year-on-year declines in February and March of this year.




It said: “Currency movements have seen the rise of a much stronger Singapore Dollar versus key travel markets such as India and Indonesia, affecting inbound tourist travel to Singapore.  Continued political uncertainty in Thailand and, more recently, reduced Chinese demand for travel to Southeast Asia has also dampened passenger traffic to and from these key markets.


“Reflecting the intense competition to fill seats in a tight aviation landscape and the weakening of major revenue-generating currencies, airlines in the region have also observed lower yields despite growth in passenger carriage. This has resulted in reduced margins.”


Other highlights at Changi in the month of May included the arrival of new airlines, with VietJet Air launching a daily Ho Chi Minh City-Singapore service on 23 May and Tigerair beginning a three times weekly service to Xi’an, China from 15 May (Tigerair now serves six Chinese cities from Singapore).


On 27 May, SilkAir also introduced a new three times weekly service to Kalibo, Philippines and on 10 June it added the same frequency to Mandalay, Myanmar. Singapore Airlines also resumed its seasonal twice-weekly service to Athens, Greece from 9 June, with this service running right through the summer season until 9 October.


May’s new retail openings in the transit area at Changi included Coach, plus Shanghai Tang in T1, while in Terminal 3, luxury watch retailer Maison de Chronus and American luggage brand Tumi both opened second and third airport stores respectively.

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