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     FrontPage Edition: Fri 19 December 2003

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Govt mulls new low-cost airport terminal for Changi

Source: www.gov.sg 

Excerpt of speech by Minister Yeo Cheow Tong on 17 Dec 2003

"...Today, 68 airlines operate more than 3,200 weekly scheduled flights connecting Singapore to 150 cities in 51 countries....

"Last year, Changi handled a record 29 million passengers compared to Singapore’s resident population of 4 million. And by being forced to compete with foreign international players right from the onset, SIA has learnt to be an efficient and attractive carrier. In the process, it has grown to be one of the world’s most successful airlines today.

"The future, however, will not be a mere extrapolation of the past. With the emergence of new and low cost carriers in the region, and a fundamental change in our local aviation scene from a single player to multiple players, the local aviation environment can only get increasingly complex.

"To prepare for the entry of more Singapore carriers, we established the Air Traffic Rights Committee in October this year to allocate traffic rights amongst them. This is a major step for the Government, which, hitherto, had only to deal with the SIA Group. The setting up of the Committee will ensure that Singapore’s air traffic rights are properly allocated so as to maximise the interests of Singapore as a whole.

"The entry of low cost carriers into this region, and into the Singapore market, also brings with it tremendous opportunities and many interesting challenges. With its innovative model that goes against traditional conventions set by full-service carriers, old mindsets and ways of doing things have also to change.

"Since Changi Airport opened in 1981, it has won numerous awards for its excellent service from both travellers worldwide as well as international airlines.

"However, low cost carrier operations do not require top-notch facilities, and some do not even need certain facilities we now take for granted, like the aerobridge, or catered-meals.

"The Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) will hence have to adopt a completely new approach to meet the needs of this new breed of carriers.

"A team from CAAS has been looking at low cost carrier operations all over the world, and is now studying the feasibility of building a new dedicated low cost terminal tailored to the most basic needs of low cost carriers.

"Although it will be physically located at Changi, and be equally efficient and clean, it will be quite a different concept from the current terminals in Changi Airport in terms of its physical attributes. Indeed, going by the low cost terminals I have visited in the UK, I expect the low cost terminal in Changi, if we do build one, to have the same physical attributes as some of our bus terminals.

"This new form of air travel will, therefore, require not only a change in mindset on the part of the CAAS, but also the travelling public who have long experienced the high standards of Changi Airport.....

Source: Ministry of Information, Communication & the Arts Press Release 17 Dec 2003

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Public Holidays CHRISTMAS DAY is the next public holiday. It falls on 25 December 2003.