Singapore's Changi airport is planning to expand its capacity at its Terminal 1 to handle 24 million passengers annually.
To do this, the open-air carpark between the terminal and the airport's control tower will be redeveloped into a multi-use complex, according to Josephine Teo, the country's minister of state for transport in parliament.
The new complex will be integrated with the existing building and increase the terminal's public areas and pick-up driveways. The current upgrading works at the terminal, which started in 2008, will be completed this year.
The expanded Terminal 1, together with the new Terminal 4, which will be built on the site of the current Budget Terminal, will increase Changi's overall capacity from 73 million to 85 million passengers annually.
The increased traffic at the airport has led to delays in aircraft arrivals and departures, especially during peak periods, Teo says.
"There are seasonal fluctuations, but on average, about one in 20 departures at Changi faced some delay in 2011," she adds.
New measures, such as shorteninng the intervals between departing aircraft, have been been put in place to allow more aircraft to use the runway simultaneously.
When asked about the charges that will be applied at the new Terminal 4, Teo would only say it is too early to tell, but added that "there will have to be some sort of pricing differential" between the new terminal and Terminal 1,2 and 3.
In addition, Teo says it is necessary to tear down the Budget Terminal and build a bigger one to cope with the growth of low-cost carriers in the region and because several leading air hubs, such as Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong and South Korea, are "upping their game, taking a long-term view on capacity building".
"It is really because the growth potential is vast and we think that it makes better sense for it to be redeveloped to cater to that growth potential," Teo says of the new terminal.
Meanwhile, the ministry has set up a steering committee to develop a plan to address issues, such as the development of a new terminal, the possible civilian use of Changi's third runway and the infrastructure, facilities and transport links needed for the airport's growth. The committee will present its recommendations in a year's time.
Last year, 46.5 million passengers came through Changi, setting a record 10.7% growth, which is more than double the global growth rate of 5.1% for the year. In addition, aircraft movements at the airport grew by 14.5%, exceeding the 300,000 mark for the first time.
Last week, Changi Airport Group announced it will be tearing down the Budget Terminal and building a new, bigger terminal, which will be able to handle 16 million passengers annually.