Singapore Changi Airport’s mega Terminal 5 project will be pushed back by at least two years, with a possible redesign in the works, amid uncertainty over the pace at which air travel demand will recover from the coronavirus outbreak.
Transport minister Khaw Boon Wan says the Singapore government will “do a thorough study” on post-pandemic air travel demand and the design of Terminal 5.
Khaw states: “We are confident that air traffic will return; the uncertainty is how quickly it will be. Analysts’ projections range from 2 to 5 years. We are doing our own study, in consultation with experts and stakeholders.”
He adds: “We will do a thorough study on air travel demand and the design of [Terminal 5], including the possibility of redesigning certain parts to make sure air travel will be safe.”
Changi Airport’s fifth passenger terminal was scheduled to be completed by 2030, and was to handle up to 50 million passengers annually in its initial phase.
It forms part of the Changi East project, which also comprises a third runway which is an extension of an existing military runway, and other support and industrial facilities.
The Singapore government had earlier indicated that major infrastructure projects like Terminal 5 will be completed, but did not rule out a shift in timelines.
As with other airports in and around the region, Changi been impacted severely by the coronavirus outbreak.
April traffic figures showed the airport handled only 25,200 passengers, a steep 99.5% decline year on year.
In mid-May, it closed Terminal 4 indefinitely, owing to the small number of flights that were to operate out of the terminal.
The airport shut Terminal 2 for 18 months at the start of May, in a bid to consolidate terminal operations amid falling passenger travel demand. The closure will allow planned upgrades at the terminal to be sped up and these could be completed by up to a year in advance.