Changi Airport in Singapore has announced it is to resume work on its Terminal 5 (T5) project, with construction set to start in two to three years, after being on hold for two years due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The announcement was made by Singapore transport minister S Iswaran on May 17 during the opening address of the Changi Aviation Summit – a two-day event organized by the Ministry of Transport and the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) – in which he discussed the importance of capabilities, capacity and climate to aviation recovery.
“Given the current and projected recovery in air travel demand, we have a renewed impetus to secure our infrastructural capacity for growth. We have taken the opportunity of the two-year hiatus to comprehensively review the T5 design to make it more modular and flexible and enhance its resilience and sustainability. We will re-mobilize the design and engineering consultants progressively, to update and further refine the T5 design,” Iswaran said.
“We are already seeing evidence of recovery in Singapore. Passenger traffic has more than doubled to above 40% of pre-Covid levels in May, compared to just under 20% in mid-March.”
Iswaran said that it is “essential that we continue to grow our aviation workforce and equip them with the knowledge and skillsets to innovate, seize new opportunities and adapt to disruptions” and that Singapore should “strengthen our focus on fundamentals such as aviation safety, as well as urgent long-term priorities like sustainability.”
He also highlighted comments by IATA director-general Willie Walsh that overall air passenger numbers are expected to recover to levels before Covid-19 by 2023 — one year earlier than previously anticipated. “While there are good reasons to be optimistic about the future growth of air travel demand, it is incumbent that we do not forget pre-Covid capacity challenges,” Iswaran said. “To reduce ground congestion and the consequential delays in the air, we must strive to build up capacity in anticipation of demand.”
The minister also said that Singapore will invest in “new concepts” for air traffic management and navigation services systems to prepare for the 4.5% annual growth of air traffic over the next 20 years, as predicted by IATA.
Iswaran stated, “In particular, we can harness technology to further streamline and harmonize our travel protocols. One key enabler in this regard will be the promulgation of digital health certificates and credentials and their mutual recognition. This will enable travelers to present digitally verifiable certificates for their health status to be easily and reliably authenticated.”
Iswaran also spoke about climate change and the need to decarbonize air travel: “If we fail to act, the sector’s emissions could more than double by 2050 from 2019 levels. This is not tenable – for the aviation sector nor its diverse group of stakeholders. It is therefore in the enlightened self-interest of the global aviation community to take decisive action now to decarbonize air travel.”
It was also announced that the Singapore-ICAO Developing Countries Training Program (DCTP) is to be extended for another three years, providing US$1.6m of training assistance over three years in the form of fellowships and scholarships.