Singapore’s Changi Airport records impressive recovery in passenger traffic

Exterior view of Singapore Changi Airport
Photo Credit: Singapore Changi Airport

Since the relaxation of Singapore’s border restrictions in April 2022, Changi Airport has experienced a remarkable recovery in passenger traffic.

By March 2023, the airport had reached 82% of pre-Covid levels, indicating a significant rebound in the aviation industry.

Eightfold increase in passenger movements

The whole of FY2022/23 saw a year-on-year increase of eightfold in passenger movements, totalling 42.6 million passengers, which is equivalent to 62% of pre-Covid levels. Additionally, air traffic movements doubled year-on-year, reaching 257,000, or 67% of pre-Covid levels.

These positive trends have played a crucial role in the partial recovery of revenues from airport services and concessions.

Notably, Jewel, the iconic lifestyle and retail complex connected to Changi Airport, experienced a substantial increase in footfall, more than doubling with the resumption of international travel.

Changi Airport Singapore
Photo Credit: via Wikimedia Commons

Furthermore, the mall was on the verge of achieving full occupancy, indicating a strong revival of commercial activities.

Overall, the Group’s revenue doubled to S$1.9 billion in FY2022/23, compared to S$0.9 billion in the previous fiscal year (FY2021/22).

Group Operating Expenses

During FY2022/23, the Group’s operating expenses (Opex) amounted to S$1.2 billion, excluding depreciation and amortization charges of S$0.7 billion. This represents a 42% yoy increase compared to the previous fiscal year (FY2021/22), which incurred Opex of S$0.8 billion.

The increase in operating expenses can be attributed to several factors. Firstly, the Group reopened the revamped southern wing of Terminal 2 and Terminal 4 to accommodate the growing demand for travel.

As a result, core operating, maintenance, and manpower costs rose in line with the increased level of business activities. Additionally, energy prices surged more than three times during the year, leading to a substantial increase in electricity costs.

The Singapore Changi airport control tower.
George Tan from Singapore, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Moreover, as traffic recovered, the government support related to Covid gradually decreased. To mitigate the impact of these escalating costs, the Group continues to leverage technology and innovation to enhance productivity and operational efficiency.

Chairman and CEO’s Remarks

Mr. Tan Gee Paw, the Chairman of Changi Airport Group (CAG), expressed his satisfaction with the recovery of the aviation industry and Changi Airport in 2022.

He highlighted the successful ramping up of operations to meet the surge in passenger numbers following the reopening of borders in Singapore and worldwide.

Furthermore, Mr. Tan mentioned that with the planned reopening of Terminal 2 North, Changi Airport will have four fully operating terminals by October 2023.

Acknowledging the airport’s leading position in the region, Mr. Tan attributed the success to the collaborative efforts of partners and staff in delivering the best airport experience for passengers.

The Chairman expressed deep appreciation for the support and solidarity within the airport community.

Mr. Lee Seow Hiang, the CEO of CAG, emphasized the challenges faced by the airport in catering to the surge in travel demand.

Despite these obstacles, the airport managed to reopen terminals promptly and undertook a vital rebalancing of airlines across all four terminals to optimize operations.

Maintaining high service levels during this period required agility and a focus on driving transformation to strengthen operational capabilities.

Optimism for the future

Looking ahead, Mr. Lee expressed optimism that passenger traffic would reach pre-Covid levels by 2024, leveraging the current growth momentum.

However, he acknowledged potential frictions and hurdles such as aircraft availability and long-term changes in travel behavior that could hinder growth.

With a focus on sustainable travel and innovation, Changi Airport remains vigilant and committed to paving the way forward.

By Len Varley - Assistant Editor 4 Min Read
4 Min Read
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