Singapore’s Changi Airport handled 5.26 million passenger movements in January 2017, an increase of 8.2 per cent year-on-year. Aircraft movements were 4.8 per cent higher with 31,600 landings and take-offs, while cargo shipments were steady at 158,690 tonnes, compared to the same period last year, according to latest traffic indicators from operator Changi Airport Group.
Passenger traffic growth for the month of January was boosted by air travel demand to and from Southeast Asia, Northeast Asia and South Asia. Among Changi Airport’s top ten country markets, China led the gainers with a strong 31 per cent growth in passenger traffic; this coincided with the Lunar New Year holidays occurring at the tail end of January this year. India (+14 per cent), Indonesia (+14 per cent), and Malaysia (+12 per cent) also registered double-digit growth. As for Changi’s top ten city markets, travel to and from Denpasar in Indonesia increased 18 per cent year-on-year; while Kuala Lumpur and Jakarta also saw healthy growth.
As of January 1, 2017, more than 100 airlines were operating at Changi Airport, connecting Singapore to some 380 cities in around 90 countries and territories worldwide. With more than 7,000 weekly scheduled flights, an aircraft takes off or lands at Changi roughly once every 90 seconds; last year these handled a record 58.7 million passengers ranking Changi as the world's sixth busiest airport for international traffic.
Alongside the record passenger numbers, the airport also handled 360,490 aircraft movements (up 4.1 per cent) for the year, while airfreight throughput increased by 6.3 per cent to also reach a new high of 1.97 million tonnes. The performance was boosted by a record performance in December 2016 he including its busiest day in its history on December 23, 2016, when 202,359 passengers passed through its gates.
“2016 was a record-breaking year for Changi Airport, with passenger traffic and cargo throughput both registering new peaks. We are also pleased with the introduction of many new city links, including to Europe and Oceania, as well as the launch of non-stop services to the United States,” said Lee Seow Hiang, chief executive officer, Changi Airport Group.
In 2016, routes to South East Asia, North East Asia and Oceania contributed 90 per cent of the growth in passenger traffic. China moved from fifth to become Changi Airport’s third largest country market for the year, with robust traffic growth of 15 per cent. This was on the back of very strong visitor arrivals to Singapore. A healthy increase in visitor numbers also contributed to passenger traffic growth for Thailand (up six per cent) and Vietnam (up eight per cent).
“Despite a backdrop of economic and socio-political uncertainties, we maintain a positive outlook for the year ahead. We see opportunities in emerging markets within Africa and Eastern Europe. At the same time, we will continue to grow our long haul routes to Western Europe, and strengthen our connectivity within the region to secondary cities in South East Asia, China and India,” said Lee Seow Hiang.
“We have observed emerging trends such as growth in the self-transfer and fly-cruise segments, and will continue to work with our partners to develop innovative solutions to better serve passengers. Similarly, manageable fuel costs and improvement in aircraft technology bode well for Changi Airport’s drive to work with airlines to expand our network of city links,” he added.
There was little change in the top ten list of Changi Airport’s busiest routes for the year, with Jakarta remaining at the top. Kuala Lumpur moved up one notch, swapping places with Bangkok. Among Changi Airport’s top 20 city links, Guangzhou was the fastest growing (up 21 per cent), with Melbourne, Penang and Seoul also achieving double-digit growth.
Changi Airport welcomed two passenger airlines in 2016 (West Air and Fiji Airways), and two freighter carriers (Neptune Air and Silkway West Airlines). United Airlines and Singapore Airlines commenced high profile new non-stop flights to San Francisco, while freighter airline K-Mile Air resumed operations to Changi Airport. Eight new city links were established during the year – to India (Amritsar and Jaipur), China (Urumqi), Australia (Canberra), New Zealand (Wellington), Fiji (Nadi), Japan (Sapporo) and Germany (Dusseldorf).
In terms of airfreight throughput, growth was recorded across imports, exports and transshipments. Perishables and pharmaceuticals were segments that performed well, contributing a significant portion of Changi’s total cargo throughput. The top five country markets for airfreight were China, Australia, Hong Kong, the United States and India.