Details on Changi airport's long-term master plan, including that for a fifth terminal, will be released by the end of 2013, says Singapore's transport minister Lui Tuck Yew.

He adds that Terminal 4, which is being designed, will facilitate quick flight turnarounds in line with the operating model for low-cost carriers, and will also handle short-haul flights operated by full-service carriers.

Airport operator Changi Airport Group (CAG) will also be redeveloping the car park at Terminal 1 into a multi-use complex. When these developments are complete, the airport will be able to handle 85 million passengers annually.

Last year, passenger numbers at Changi crossed the 50 million mark for the first time, an increase of 10% from 2011.

Lui says the airport faces challenges from "fundamental shifts" in the global aviation landscape, with changing traditional alliances among airlines and new partnerships being formed.

"Changi airport needs to respond to these changes and take advantage of them where we can, to capture our share of the growing pie and cement our position as a leading aviation hub," he adds.

CAG has picked a consortium to pilot the architecture, design concept and construction of the new Terminal 4. The two-storey terminal is expected to open in 2017, and cater to regional full service and low-cost carriers.

The inter-agency Changi 2036 Steering Committee, which is working on plans for Terminal 5 and is chaired by minister of state for transport Josephine Teo, has also recommended that Changi's third runway be readied for civil co-use as early as possible, likely before the end of the decade.

The third runway is now being used exclusively by the Republic of Singapore Air Force.

The committee has predicted that passenger traffic at Changi will grow at an annual compound rate of 5% until the end of 2020, and up to 4% between 2020 and 2030.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news