Haha.. it seems like we’ll never have enough of airport terminals, do we? Or have we gotten into an obsession of building these terminals? Apparently, a new Terminal 4 is in the pipeline. At the same time, a budget is set aside to upgrade the current budget terminal to cater to 7 million visitors when SEA routes are being liberalised in the near future.

Strange thing was that I was told the budget terminal is actually a temporary structure and that a "proper one" will be built in due time. Is the "upgrade" going to give rise to a more permanent structure, or will we end up building more temporary structures?

Hmm… don’t really know what’s happening in the east…

TO fend off competition from other airports in the region, Singapore will be building a fourth passenger terminal at Changi Airport, said Minister of State for Transport Lim Hwee Hua in Parliament.

Speaking during the debate on her ministry’s spending plans, Mrs Lim said Changi needs to expand its capacity since its status as an global aviation hub is now under strong challenge from bigger competitors like Dubai, Bangkok and Beijing.

It was only in January that Changi Airport opened the $1.75 billion Terminal Three. $500 million have also been set aside to upgrade Terminal One, while the $240 million makeover for Terminal Two has already been completed.

And now the ‘master planning’ for Terminal Four, said Mrs Lim, has already started.

Changi’s passenger traffic hit a record 36.7 million last year – 4.8 per cent higher than in 2006.

But regional and international competition for passengers has also intensified.

Beijing airport’s $3.8 billion third terminal, bigger than all five terminals at London?s Heathrow, opened its doors on Feb 29.

At the same time, Dubai also plans to spend $33 billion to build the world’s largest airport, which will be able to handle 120 million people a year when it’s ready in 2012.

In recent years, newly expanded terminals have also sprung up in Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur.

And on the budget terminal

SINGAPORE’S Budget Terminal for low-cost carriers will undergo a S$10 million upgrade that will more than double its handling capacity.

The expansion, which will start in July, will raise the terminal’s annual handling capacity from 2.7 million passengers to 7 million when the upgrade is completed in early 2009, the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) said on Thursday.

The terminal will also get three more boarding gates, additional baggage handling equipment as well as an extra seven check-in counters, it said in a statement.

The kerbside at the arrival hall will be widened for arriving passengers waiting for vehicles to pick them up.

CAAS chief executive Lim Kim Choon said the upgrade will allow the terminal to cope better with an expected rise in traffic when restrictions on flights between Southeast Asian capital cities are lifted by the end of the year.

‘With increased air transport liberalisation in this region, airlines, including low cost carriers, have now greater opportunities to rapidly expand their air network and increase their flight operations,’ Mr Lim said.

‘The expansion of the budget terminal to increase its handling capacity is timely as we expect passenger traffic to increase further with Asean’s goal to remove all restrictions on passenger flights between Asean capitals by December 2008.’

‘The increased handling capacity can last us through the next few years.’

CAAS said the budget terminal’s number of weekly flights has increased from 124 in March 2006 when it began operation to 248 last month.

About 1.77 million passengers passed through the termal last year. It has served about 2.9 million passengers since it opened on March 26, 2006.

‘After almost two years of operations, the terminal’s expansion is necessary to keep ahead of the air traffic growth,’ said a CAAS statement.

Singapore-based Tiger Airways and Cebu Pacific of the Philippines are the two carriers using the budget terminal.

The Budget Terminal is located less than two km away, or a 5-minute drive, from Changi Airport’s Terminals 1, 2 and 3.

Article obtained from straitstimes.com on 6th March 2008

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