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Feb 9, 2013

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Cyborg chic: The seldom seen exterior of Changi's SkyTrain, Wikipedia Commons

Singapore Airport’s fourth terminal will be open on the site of the now disused budget terminal in 2017, and serve single aisle premium carriers, like SilkAir,  and low cost carrier franchises, like Jetstar or Tiger.

While anticipated, the more detailed announcement yesterday implies that the wide body ambitions of Jetstar, as well as the all wide-body fleet of Singapore Airlines owned low cost carrier Scoot, will continue to be met in the main terminals.

The statement makes no reference to the extension of the existing SkyTrain service between terminals 1, 2 and 3 to T4, instead saying only that ‘there will be provision for an airside transfer of passengers and checked luggage’ between it and the other terminals.

This is a bit strange, in that Singapore Airlines makes a major point about the ease with which its network synchs with that of SilkAir today, and Jetstar’s various franchises offer same terminal connections between wide body and single aisle flights and indeed those of Qantas, at Changi as it is now.

What isn’t strange at all about the announcement is that Singapore is getting on with making its vital airline hub  more than capable of handling over 80 million passengers a year by 2017 compared to more than 51 million in 2012.  Sydney Airport coped with 37 million passengers in the same period, or 14 million less than Changi. ‘ Coped with’, as distinct from ‘catered for’.

By the time Changi’s T4 is up and running Sydney will be a bigger embarrassment than it is today for restricted flight movements, with the western half of the city, its growing half, struggling to get to the existing airport and jamming up the roads and rail services for the rest of the city’s daily commuters as a result.

Ben Sandilands — Editor of Plane Talking

Ben Sandilands

Editor of Plane Talking

Ben Sandilands has reported and analysed the mechanical mobility of humanity since late 1960 - the end of the age of great scheduled ocean liners and coastal steamers and the start of the jet age. He’s worked in newspapers, radio and TV in a wide range of roles as a journalist at home and abroad for 56 years, the last 18 freelance.

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