A slow march: What Changi Airport needs to make a full recovery

4 months ago 82

SINGAPORE - After a year of steady recovery for Changi Airport in 2023, with passenger traffic reaching 91 per cent of 2019 levels in December, there is optimism among aviation officials and the authorities here of a full recovery in 2024.

Yet, with weak inbound travel demand and other headwinds, analysts have painted a more uncertain picture. Other major Asian airports are also fast closing in.

In an interview with The Straits Times, Mr Lim Ching Kiat, executive vice-president for air hub and cargo development at Changi Airport Group (CAG), was sanguine, noting that passenger traffic at the airport is climbing steadily.

“People are travelling out. A lot of tourists are travelling in as well. Part of it is because of all the events that are happening here, such as Coldplay and Taylor Swift,” Mr Lim said.

He pointed to the start of a mutual 30-day visa-free scheme between China and Singapore on Feb 9, which he said is expected to bring in a good number of tourists.

Bottlenecks

Independent analyst Brendan Sobie of Sobie Aviation, however, expects Changi Airport will handle about 65 million passengers in 2024 – about 95 per cent of the 68.3 million travellers it handled in 2019.

That said, there could be a complete recovery for some months, including February due to the leap year, he added.

In 2023, 58.9 million passengers p...

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