Singapore’s Changi T1 Completes Major Upgrading
Karamjit Kaur – Straits Times
Singapore. Changi Airport’s 31-year-old Terminal 1 (T1) has emerged from four years of renovation works with new carpets, lights and more open spaces.
The refurbishment, its first major one since the terminal opened on July 1, 1981, cost $500 million.
The improvements have also increased the number of shops and restaurants from 85 to 110.
Frequent flier Jonathan Holland, 55, who flew out of T1 on the first day of operations more than three decades ago, was impressed even then.
The Singapore resident told The Straits Times in an interview on Wednesday: “The first thing that struck me was that the terminal was fully carpeted. I had a surprise because I had never seen a carpeted airport before.”
The branding consultant, who travels three to four times a month, said, “Everything was smooth and hassle-free. Even back then, Changi was ahead of the rest.”
Constant upgrading and rejuvenation has been an essential part of Changi’s strategy to attract more airlines and travellers, Changi Airport Group (CAG) senior vice-president for operations Yeo Kia Thye told reporters after a tour of the refurbished terminal yesterday.
In 1995, when T1 was 14 years old, it underwent a $147 million renovation to add more aircraft gates.
In March 2006, the Budget Terminal was launched; in September that year, Changi completed a $240 million improvement project for Terminal 2. Two years later, Terminal 3 opened.
Asked why T1′s upgrade cost twice as much as T2′s, Yeo said the high cost of construction when T1′s renovations started was a key factor.
The works were also more complicated because the terminal was old, said CAG’s Stuart Ralls, a senior manager who led the project. It took some time, for example, to sort out the many wires and cables that had been laid over the years.
For some areas of the terminal, CAG had to consult the first contractor from three decades ago for the original drawings and blueprints, he said.
Another challenge for the team was to ensure that airport operations remained undisrupted, and travelers and visitors were not inconvenienced.
Retiree John Tan, 67, said, “There were hoardings here and there, and space was a bit tight in some areas of the terminal while the works were going on. But there was no noise or dust, so that was good.”
Even as Changi celebrates a significant milestone in T1′s development, plans are already underway for even more upgrading.
The arrival hall on the first floor of the four-story facility will be expanded outwards to boost the terminal’s annual handling capacity from 21 million to 24 million passengers.
The basement will be redeveloped, as will the road that now separates the building from the car park. There are also plans to link the main terminal building to a new multi-story complex that will be sited in the terminal’s open-air car park.
These expansions will help cater for the strong growth in passenger traffic as seen in the past few years. Construction will begin within 12 months, from April next year.
Reprinted courtesy of Straits Times