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It's been voted the world's best airport four years in a row.
Singapore's iconic Changi. But this isn't your typical airport.
It does have the usual shops, bars, departure gates....but even a butterfly garden.
Changi is one of the region's busiest international airports
and at the start of 2016, saw passenger numbers climb 10% in January.
And it's putting that boom in growth down to one specific part of the world.
A record 55.4 million passengers passed through Changi Airport last year,
and the airport management here in Singapore say that that growth is due to certain routes in and out and around Asia.
And that's why the airport's senior VP of operations told me there's been a pivot away from inter-continental long haul flights.
Changi being a hub that's closely linked to key markets like China, India and also of course Indonesia.
We are seeing that more people are travelling from and within these countries.
So we are also working very hard with our airline partners to continue to deepen
the connections we have with these cities and especially to our second tier cities in China and India.
Singapore's Changi had long been a major hub for flights between western Europe and Austral-Asia.
But with the advent of gulf carriers like Emirates, Qatar and Etihad, much of that traffic has disappeared.
But Changi management argues that if you want growth - you stay in Asia.
I think the rise of the Middle East gulf hubs is a major competitive element for us
and of course certain routes between Asia and Europe they are a strong competitor,
but the Middle East is too far in the west for what is intra-Asia traffic.
And we are very confident that in Asia the rise of the middle class with something like over two or three billion population in Asia alone.
Growing more affluent, travelling for the first time over the next 20 years,
that is the market that we are aiming to serve. That is something the Middle East carriers and hubs just can't take away from us,
so even with this massive increasing capacity given by Terminal 5,
I think that just puts us in the table stakes to compete for Asia Pacific traffic.
Terminal 5 is Changi's massive new infrastructure project that will add a new terminal building
the size of all three current ones combined. It will also include a new third runway.
When open in the mid 2020s, it will be equipped to handle a staggering 50 million passengers.
But some in the industry have criticised the scale of the project saying it is just too big and too expensive for what Changi needs.
Something Choy de Wen rejects.
Changi is made up of three smaller terminals and that strategy has put us in good status,
we grew from a small airport to what we are today, but each of our terminals are now only about 20-25 million passengers per annum in capacity.
Some of our biggest airline groups, especially the SIA Group is growing far beyond that size
and it is inefficient for them to operate in two to three terminals.
It complicates the operations. It is also difficult for our passengers to find a way around transferring between terminals.
So Terminal 5 was designed from the group up to be much bigger, in order to accommodate our biggest airline customers.
But before ground even breaks on the new T5 - Changi is eagerly awaiting the opening of another new project at the airport - the Jewel.
The multi-billion dollar project will be the largest shopping and lifestyle precinct at the airport -
and will also set itself apart with hanging gardens and the world's largest indoor waterfall.
We wanted to do, first and foremost, the infrastructure expansion, getting capacity up for terminal 1
but we thought why stop there? Why no add on top of that, something to make Changi Airport an interesting lifestyle destination.
Something that attracts tourists to come. In the competition between hub airports,
we are making sure our airport is efficient, has lots of connections, lots of airlines coming in,
but we thought, we could have something special by making Jewel a special place to be,
a place to come to and that is what will set us apart from other hub airports.
And that is perhaps the unique thing about Changi.
It's a place that locals come and spend a day at, even if they aren't flying anywhere.
Many kids grew up coming to the airport to study. Here on weekends, people come here for food and shopping.
It is a very big infrastructure in a very small country, in relative sense.
Therefore, it is a place where, when Singaporeans travel, when they get out of Singapore, they go to Changi.
When they come home, they go to Changi. So very much Changi Airport is almost like a home.
So when they first come home, they see Changi. That's home.
At Changi Airport, I'm Phil Han for CNBC.




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Vincent Liu 2017 年 4 月 4 日 に公開
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