On Tuesday, September 13, Singapore is preparing to reopen Changi Airport's Terminal 4. This state-of-the-art facility will serve 16 million passengers. In May 2020, its operation was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic and border closures around the world.
The new Terminal 5, which will be larger than all existing Changi terminals combined, is able to receive and serve an additional 50 million passengers a year. Thus, the airport can double its performance, as 68 million travelers passed through the four existing Changi terminals in 2019.
The new facility will be built on nearly 11 square kilometers of land to the east of the existing terminals on the eastern tip of Singapore Island. It will use the existing airstrip currently reserved for the Singaporean military. True, it will have to be expanded to serve large commercial airliners. The design of the terminal is expected to incorporate Changi's signature open spaces and greenery, with an emphasis on sustainability through the use of solar panels and other environmentally friendly technologies.
The shape of the new terminal resembles a triangle with an elongated T-shaped structure protruding from its top. This is a place to park planes. Additional berths will be located in a satellite building some distance between the two runways. The tunnels will connect T5 to the existing terminals, allowing the entire complex to function as a single airport with three runways.
This Changi expansion project appeared on paper back in 2013. However, it was not until 2018 that the engineering and architectural design consultants began active work on the project.
During the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, all work was suspended. During this time, the officials involved in the project revisited plans to build a new terminal due to the uncertain outlook for the aviation industry.
Nonetheless, the pandemic has taught us something. For example, the modular design of the new terminal allows the object to be divided into smaller independent — some areas may be closed in case of another decrease in passenger traffic. The current design incorporates contactless technology and improved air ventilation systems.
Construction is expected to begin in the next couple of years, in two phases due to the scale of the project and plans to expand space to deploy the new terminal. As a result, T5 can only be expected to open in the mid-2030s.