Lim Ching Kiat, MD of air hub development, Changi Airport Group, speaks to Routes.
What are the major recent successes at your organisation?
Since Singapore’s gradual lifting of travel restrictions from September 2021, Changi witnessed strong passenger traffic recovery from an average of 4% in September 2021 to close to 60% of pre-pandemic traffic in August 2022. In fact, for the three months from June to August 2022, Changi Airport was the busiest international airport in Asia.
During the pandemic (March 2020 to now), Changi welcomed 10 new passenger airlines—a mix of full-service and LCCs—and introduced five new passenger city links. Another seven new scheduled freighter operators joined the Changi family in the same period. Despite the surge in traffic, Changi maintained acceptable service levels to passengers and partners, and leveraged the COVID-19 period to transform operations and processes and improve efficiency.
What are your main strategic ambitions in the short-, medium- and long-term?
We are currently working closely with our airline partners to recover our network and traffic to our pre-COVID-19 connectivity, as well as actively marketing our new city links such as Jeju, Noumea, Bahrain and Vancouver. In the medium-term, we want to connect with more secondary cities in Asia such as Pune, Jaipur and Lucknow in India, Hai Phong and Phu Quoc in Vietnam and Sibu in Malaysia, to make Singapore the most connected airport in Asia.
Changi is also in good stead to grow our long-haul connectivity to Europe and North America. Taking North America for instance—with United Airlines’ announcement of the reinstatement of their double-daily San Francisco services to Singapore, Changi’s one-way seat capacity to North America has exceeded pre-COVID-19 levels with 76 flights per week. Changi now connects passengers to Los Angeles, New York City, San Francisco, Houston, Seattle and Vancouver.
What is your main goal in attending Routes World 2022?
Our key goal is to re-engage some of our partners on long haul routes, such as those to Europe, Americas and Africa. We also want to reach out to more airlines and aviation stakeholders and allow them the opportunity to know Changi Airport and what we have to offer. Besides origin-destination traffic, transfer traffic also took up a substantial proportion of total passenger traffic at Changi Airport before the pandemic.
With four passenger terminals each with a distinct sense of place and connected to one another via our Skytrains or frequent shuttle bus service, Changi offers airlines a unique proposition to expand their offerings and is a strategic hub for airlines to access Southeast Asia, Southwest Pacific and beyond.