The Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) is studying the possibility of a terminal at Changi airport dedicated to low-cost carriers. "The study is expected to be completed in one or two months time," says CAAS spokesman Albert Tjoeng.

The option being examined is to design a new terminal for low-cost operations, and not to convert a section of the existing terminals 1 or 2 at Changi. Although the CAAS is well advanced on the construction of Terminal 3 at the airport, "if there is a need for a dedicated terminal then there is still room for one," says the CAAS. Terminal 3 is scheduled to be completed in 2008 and have a capacity of 20 million passengers per year.

The capacity of the existing two terminals is 44 million. The construction of a dedicated low-cost terminal would give carriers such as Air Asia, which is planning to launch a low-cost operation at Changi later this year, the possibility of a simplified operation that could perform fast aircraft turnarounds. These are essential in low-cost travel to obtain high aircraft utilisation.


A no-frills terminal would also be cheaper, for example enabling airlines to board passengers without having to use airbridges. This option is not available at Changi's existing terminals, where passengers must either use airbridges or be bussed to their aircraft.

With the assistance of low-cost start-ups, the CAAS is hoping that traffic at Changi will recover to pre-SARS levels this year and once again handle 29 million passengers as it did in 2002. Last year traffic fell back to 24.7 million passengers because of the effect of SARS on travel.

Malaysia Holdings Berhad, the company that runs Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA), has also said that it would consider building a low-cost terminal if there was sufficient demand from low-cost operators.

KLIA is the home base of fast-growing AirAsia, the region's pioneering low-cost operator.

Source: Flight Daily News