Seeing the pictures of bemused passengers being greeted as they disembarked the first flight to arrive at Singapore Changi’s new Terminal 3 reminded me of the day the airport did exactly the same in the early 1990s when it opened Terminal 2.
Back then, my memory says 1991, a gaggle of journalists watched as a bunch of Dutchmen and Woman on a KLM service were presented with lovely garlands of flowers by the ubiquitous Singapore Airlines girls accompanied by some rather bizzare Cybermen robot types.
Now I haven’t been on a tour of Terminal 3 but I’m hazarding a random guess that it’s an impressive piece of airport – just as Terminal 2 is. In fact, as all awards tell us, Changi is a popular airport with travellers, and deservedly so. It has what so many airports don’t have – space. And the operator has to be praised for not cramming it full of other stuff – I mean shops.
Having said that there are 100 shops and 40 food outlets in Terminal 3 so I’ll have to see it with my own eyes, or someone will have to tell me whether the retail is too dense.
So what does Terminal 3 give Changi? For a start it gives it an annual passenger capacity of 70 million passengers. In 2006 it handled some 35 million.
Terminal 3 also gives the airport a fresh tool to fight against neighbouring airports vying with Singapore for the title of the best regional hub.
The first tenant is of course Singapore Airlines, with United, Jet Airways, Qatar Airways and China Eastern moving over in March.
Now March is when another major terminal opens – London Heathrow’s Terminal 5.