Singapore welcomes Scoot’s new flights to Sydney and Gold Coast; passenger numbers set to pass 50 million in 2012

Changi CEO, Lee Seow Hiang (front: third from left) at the Changi Airline Awards.

May 10 2012: Changi CEO, Lee Seow Hiang (front: third from left) at the Changi Airline Awards. Inset: Jetstar Asia Acting CEO, Paul Daff accepts the “Partner of the Year” top prize after the airline added Auckland and Beijing services to its low-cost, long-haul portfolio.

Singapore’s Changi Airport is on course to handle 50 million passengers in 2012, having only passed the 40 million milestone as recently as 2010. Passenger numbers grew by 13.0% in 2010 and then by 10.7% in 2011. In the first five months of 2012, demand is up another 12%. The airport recently welcomed the first flights of Scoot, the low-cost, medium-to-long-haul airline set up by Singapore Airlines, bringing to 66 the number of scheduled airlines currently serving Singapore. Four of these (Air France, Lufthansa, Qantas and Singapore Airlines) operate their A380s to the airport.

Singapore's Changi Airport 1998-2011 Annual passengers (millions)

Source: Changi Airport Group

While Singapore Airlines itself only accounts for around one-third of total seat capacity, if SilkAir (a wholly owned subsidiary), Scoot and Tiger Airways (in which Singapore Airlines still has a major stake) are all included, then the airline group’s share of Changi seat capacity comes to just under 50%.

Top 10 airlines at Changi Airport

Source: OAG Max Online for w/c 11 June 2012

In 2011, seven new carriers joined Changi’s family of airlines. Changi Airport welcomed Air Macau and Hong Kong Airlines, while Finnair became the latest European airline to launch passenger flights to Singapore. The Taiwanese carrier TransAsia Airways, India’s largest low-cost carrier (LCC) IndiGo and Lao Airlines also began operations to Singapore.

Indonesia still leading country market

According to OAG schedule data, Indonesia remains the leading country market for flights to and from Singapore. Malaysia has pulled away from Australia in second place, while China has overtaken Thailand for fourth place.

Singapore's top country markets Weekly one-way seat capacity (June 12 v June 11)

Source: OAG Max Online for w/c 11 June 2012 and w/c 6 June 2011

Sixth ranked Hong Kong has seen an almost 10% drop in weekly seat capacity partly explained by the decision of Hong Kong Airlines to drop its daily 737-800 Singapore service from 10 June, a route that the carrier only started in early 2011.

Eight airlines have already launched new routes in 2012

So far in 2012, several airlines have either started new routes to/from Changi or expect to do so in the coming months.

  • airphil Express to Clark (May)
  • China Eastern to Wuhan (April)
  • Jetstar Asia to Nanning (April)
  • Mandala Airlines to Medan (April)
  • Scoot to Bangkok (July), Gold Coast (June), Sydney (June) and Tianjin (August)
  • Silk Air to Darwin (March), Hanoi (June), Wuhan (April)
  • Tiger Airways to Colombo (May), Dhaka (March), Kochi (April)
  • Transaero to Moscow Domodedovo (January)

Budget Terminal to be replaced by new Terminal 4

Back in March 2006, the airport opened a dedicated Budget Terminal to cater to the growing low-cost market that wanted simpler (and therefore cheaper) facilities. This became the home for Tiger Airways and other LCCs such as Cebu Pacific, firefly and Mandala Airlines (but not any of the AirAsia group of airlines). Earlier this year, it was announced that the Budget Terminal would be closed in September to make way for a new, larger Terminal 4, capable of handling up to 16 million passengers per annum, which it is planned will open in 2017.


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