Changi's fifth terminal to have capacity for 50 million

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Singapore has released details for its plans to expand Changi airport, so as to maintain its status as a leading international hub in Southeast Asia.

At the core of its plans is the construction of a fifth terminal, which will be able to handle 50 million passengers annually, and is targeted to be operational by the mid-2020s.

Terminal 5 will be linked to the other terminals at Changi. This will allow the expanded airport to operate as a single, integrated airport for ease of transfer between different terminals, maximum passenger convenience and airfield operational efficiency, says Singapore's minister of state for finance and transport Josephine Teo.

Planners are now studying two layout options for the terminal. Option one will see a smaller Terminal 5 with two seperated satellite buildings which will allow for more efficient aircraft movements, while option two will see a single terminal and one satellite building, which will make it easier for passengers to get around. The terminal will be connected to the train system in Singapore. Land has also been set aside to the north of the new terminal which will be used for airfreight and air express operators, as well as MRO activities.

The concept plan is expected to be finalised in the first half of 2014.

A three-runway system will also be implemented at Changi around 2020. The existing third runway, which is now used exclusively by the military, will be extended from 2750m (9020ft) to 4000m. Almost 40,000m of new taxiways will also be built to connect the runway with the current airport, together with new facilites such as navigation aids, airfield lighting systems and a fire station.

Changi currently has the capacity to handle 66 million passengers annually with its three terminals and two runways. This figure will increase to 85 million by 2020 when its fourth terminal and third runway are in operation, and later rise to 135 million when Terminal 5 is ready.

"For passengers, Changi must mean superior connectivity, convenience and comfort. So these plans are significant because they strengthen our air hub," says Teo.

Singapore has announced its Changi expansion plans at a time when its neighbours such as Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong, Indonesia and Seoul are also expanding their airports. It is also aware that it is facing keener competition from air hubs in the Middle East.