SINGAPORE (CNA) – In a welcome development for travellers, Singapore’s Changi Airport Terminal 2 has resumed full operations, marking the successful culmination of extensive renovation efforts that spanned three and a half years.
This achievement stands out not only for its significance but also its timely delivery, as the expansion project was initially projected to conclude by the following year.
The accelerated completion of Terminal 2’s upgrades heralds an exciting new chapter for Changi Airport, one of the world’s most renowned aviation hubs.
The reopening comes at a time when passenger traffic for Changi Airport has rebounded to 90 per cent of pre-COVID levels, as of September 2023. Passenger volumes are expected to fully recover by next year.
The upgraded terminal, adding more than 21,000 square metres to the building, places Changi Airport in a better position to handle higher traffic. Sixteen airlines will operate at Terminal 2, with flights connecting to 40 cities.
With the terminal’s expansion project adding five million passengers per annum to Changi Airport’s capacity, the airport’s total handling capacity across all four terminals is now 90 million passengers per annum.
The expansion project started in January 2020, two months before Singapore closed its borders due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The terminal closed for upgrading works in May 2020. While operations were supposed to be suspended for 18 months, arrival operations in the south wing only resumed in May 2022 due to delays from the pandemic. Departure operations began in October 2022.
Speaking at the opening ceremony on Wednesday, Singapore’s Senior Minister and Coordinating Minister for National Security Teo Chee Hean noted that the aviation sector has become a key pillar of Singapore’s economy.
“Pre-COVID, the Changi air hub and its adjacent industries contributed over 5 per cent of Singapore’s GDP and supported almost 200,000 jobs.”
He said that Singapore must be ready to “capture future growth in air travel”, noting that work had resumed on the construction of Terminal 5. “When ready in the mid-2030s, T5 will add approximately 50 million passengers to Changi’s annual capacity and this will strengthen Singapore’s position as a premier air hub.”
Boasting a central common-use Fast and Seamless Travel zone, the new-look Terminal 2 has nearly twice its original number of automated check-in kiosks and bag drop machines, and immigration halls have been expanded to support more automated immigration lanes.
Terminal 2 is also the first Changi terminal to have automated Special Assistance Lanes for people with disabilities and young children at both arrival and departure immigration.
A new fully automated early baggage storage system has also been installed with the capacity to handle up to 2,400 bags.
The media were also given a tour of the refreshed terminal, which features elements of nature, from ceiling designs to wall finishes modelled after natural landforms and green columns with plants.
Digital features of nature were also incorporated. A 14m-tall digital display called The Wonderfall, located in the heart of the departure hall, depicts a waterfall crashing over boulders.
Among the refreshed tenant mix in the public areas of Terminal 2 is Funko, a retailer of pop culture collectibles. Southeast Asia’s first Funko pop-up will stock figurines of the Merlion.
Three homegrown brands – Lynk Fragrances, Peranakan confectionary Baker’s Well and coffee shop Cafe O – have also set up shop in the departure hall. Other food options in the landside area include Jones the Grocer and JINJAA Kitchen.
In the transit area, a garden dubbed Dreamscape consists of a transparent platform over a fish pond, accompanied by the sounds of nature in the form of recordings of local wildlife taken from different parts of Singapore, including Pulau Ubin.
Over the garden hangs a digital sky projecting real-time weather conditions through integration with the airport weather system.