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SINGAPORE: IATA warns Singapore on pre-funding Changi expansion

IATA is standing firm stand against pre-funding of airport expansion projects in Asia, including that of Terminal 5 at Singapore Changi airport.

Speaking to reporters at a roundtable discussion on the sidelines of the Singapore air show, IATA director general Alexandre De Juniac says that the organisation has warned the Singapore government against raising charges at Changi as part of funding for the airport expansion.

“We have mentioned several times that we are not in favour [of pre-funding the airport expansion],” de Juniac says.

T5, to be operational in the 2020s, will double Changi's passenger capacity from the current 66 million to 135 million annually. The project will also include opening a third runway at the airport to civilian traffic.

Singapore's transport ministry has said that the government will fund a large portion of the development, and that the remaining costs will be shared by Changi Airport Group, aviation stakeholders and passengers. It has also not ruled out implementing a passenger fee.

IATA has been vocal about the need to develop additional capacity across Asia, which looms as the key pacing item for the future development of the industry.

But De Juniac points out that airport infrastructure costs are rising globally, led by higher costs in labour and land, and must be considered when developing new airport projects.

“What we are saying is that we must pay attention to these costs at the beginning,” he adds.

During his keynote address, De Juniac also reiterated IATA’s opposition to airport privatisation, but noted that there is still a role for the private sector.

“By all means invite private sector expertise to bring commercial discipline and a customer focus to airport management. But our view is that the ownership is left in public hands."

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