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Airport Planning and Expansion: An Analysis of Factors Affecting Changi Airport Capacity Research Paper

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Updated: Mar 9th, 2022


Objectives & Scope of the Assignment

To analyze Changi Airport Singapore in terms of overall capacity constraints considering its master plan. This report presents a critical analysis of factors affecting the planning and expansion of Changi Airport, Singapore. With the Master Plan in place, the objectives of this analysis are:

  • Study the background and development of Changi Airport, Singapore
  • Review the existing facilities offered by the airport
  • Analyze the current runaway utilization and identify issues related to physical design of airport, obstacles surrounding the airport, runaways
  • Assess the airside infrastructure in terms of A380 compatibility
  • Appraise the terminal layout and airport map and identify the possible solutions for better utilization of existing facilities to meet the continuously increasing demand
  • Review the existing cargo operations and facilities available at the airport and advise on the possible ways of increasing the cargo capacity

Background & Overview of Changi International Airport, singapore

Changi Airport, Singapore is one of the major aviation facilities in Asia, more so in the region of Southeast Asian (Paylor, 1994). Before the establishment of Changi Airport, an Airport at Paya Lebar served the entire needs of Singapore as a country (Karamijit, 2007). Due to increased demand for traveling services, the government of Singapore initial had a proposal to expand the airport by building a secondary runaway at Paya Lebar, which was seen as a modest approach in terms of period for construction and costs for land acquisition (Airport Master Plan, 1985; Karamijit, 2007; Probert, 2006). However, there was the eminent problem of pollution considering the fact the airport’s increased capacity would have created a serious noise and air pollution to the residents of the City Airport (Operators Association, 2001). This prompted the government to change its strategies after several reviews with the final decision to build a new airport in Changi, with a definite higher cost (ACI, 1995). The planned cost was several times more than initially planned for expansion of Paya Lebar, and the planners failed to account for the access roads to the new airport from the city (AIP, 2009; Karamijit, 200). Out of the approximated 1,300 Ha of land that was allocated for Changi Airport, 70% of the land was reclaimed from the sea (Karamijit, 200).

Map showing location of Changi Airport
Fig. 1: Map showing location of Changi Airport.

Initially, the construction kicked off with first two runaways that were 1.6 km from each other and three terminal buildings as well as surface approach constructed in H-formation in the area girded between the two runaways (Dobbie & Hooper 2001). Terminal 1, built at a capacity of 22 mppa, was almost twice the size of the one at Paya Lebar (completed in 1981). It was until 1990 that terminal 2 was completed with a capacity of 46 mppa and later the need to upgrade terminal 1 to the standard of terminal 2 arose (Probert, 2006). This saw a massive project being carried out to upgrade terminal 1 to increase its operational capacity to cater for increased demand for services from both local and international airlines (Probert, 2006; Karamijit K, 2007).

To cement their dominance, Changi Airport management proposed development of Terminal 3. According to Thomas & Raper (2001) this would ensure the airport “maintained its premium as an uncluttered, anxiety free hub, maintained a layout known for its directional clarity even for the first time user” (p.14). It therefore meant that more space for modern floor layout was needed to not only generate the interest of the passengers but also increase the retail programs (Thomas & Raper, 2001). The other reason for the expansion was to have a facility that would be fit to accommodate the A380, which Singapore Airline and Airbus had planned to purchase in significant number (Research Board, 1987; Lee, 1995; Probert, 2006). These factors gave birth to the idea and subsequent implementation of building special facilities to handle the A380, hence reconstruction of 8 special gate-holds to accompany Terminal 3 specifically for A380 (Thomas & Raper, 2001). A similar service was done for Terminal 1 & 2 where eleven gate-holds were given a face-lift in order to accommodate A380 service requirements (Hong & Park, 1996; AIP, 2009). The landmark feature of A380 gate-holds was that they had to be spacious enough to allow them offer the parking of the huge A380 planes (AIP, 2009).

Changi Terminal Layout Map
Fig.2. Changi Terminal Layout Map (Changi, 2009).

Terminal 3 was also meant to establish the growing concern over environmental degradation that derailed many businesses (Upham, 2001b; Upham, 2001a; UNEP/T&E, 2002). The authorities at Changi Airport had to make sure the new constructions were environmentally friendly. To adopt the efforts made by the government in conservation of important environmental features, Changi resolved to conserve important natural resources like water and wetlands to maintain sustainability (SCAN UK, 2000). Singapore as a country had adopted strong bilateral relations with its neighbors hence decided to be self-sufficient through conservation, recycling and expansion of water catchments (Rees, 1992; Pomeret & Mahlich, 1997). Earlier, the government had put in place the foundation for such conservations in its sustainable energy consumption initiatives in the 1980s, even though little was done in practice (Pomeret & Mahlich, 1997). Hence these changes were the culmination of a more sustainable approach when Terminal 3 was being constructed.

The final need emerged at the beginning of the implementation. During Terminal 3 project construction, the problems of September 11 attack and the SARs pandemic came into sharp focus (Coleman, 2008). The authorities of Changi Airport saw the need for reserves that would meet all the timeline contingencies in future (Edmonds & Wollenberg, 2008). The two events invoked the need to have more flexible layouts that would give room for the reconfiguration of internal spaces to allow for assessment of emergency cases arising with increased global insecurity and health threats (Edmonds & Wollenberg, 2008). Despite all these factors, the Airport still had to maintain the status as an icon among the Asian counterparts as well as compete effectively with other international airports (Edmonds & Wollenberg, 2008).

Airport in 2009


RWY: 02L/20R ——————– 4000 x 60m

——————— 02C/20C 4000 x 60m

D-ATIS: —————————- YES

PDC/DCL: ————————— NIL



Company: CIAS Ops (parking stand) 131.5 / CIAS Dispatch (other items) 131.5

Maintenance: SQ Engineering 131.22

Local EK Office: +65 65430001

Medical Assistance: SATS Ops 131.5 (Changi, 2009)

(See Appendix 1 for Table 1: Operational statistics)

Occupying space of 13 square kilometers, the airport is situated in about 7 kilometers to the North-East from Changi Commercial Center (Paylor, 1994). Changi Airport is reputed for its ability to host vast number of airline companies such as Singapore Airlines, Tiger Airways, Singapore Airlines Cargo, Jetstar Asia Airways, Jett8 Airlines Cargo, SilkAir, and Valuair (Probert, 2006). The airport also acts as the primary airline hub for Garuda Indonesia as well as secondary hub for Qantas Airlines (Probert, 2006). By 2008, the airport served 4,200 weekly flights to over 180 cities and has the ability to retain its powerful retail services to the standards of the travelers.

Changi SkyTrain people mover: it has three stations inside the new terminal
Fig.3. Changi SkyTrain people mover: it has three stations inside the new terminal (Source: Changi, 2009).

There are other numerous services offered at Changi Airport. The taxi and the public transport transfer locations are strategically within an in-door climate controlled environment (Changi, 2009a). Edmonds & Wollenberg (2008) say that loading passengers boarding should be ready for the first baggage within a span of 12 minutes from the docking of an aircraft and most cases a passenger manages to disembark from the from the plane to the on-waiting taxi within a span of 20 minutes

The table 1(Appendix) clearly shows that there is a steady growth in the passenger throughput, cargo handled and the aircraft movements from year 1998 to date. In the year 1998, the passenger traffic was approximately 24 million and in 2008 it was estimated at more than 37.6 million, presenting over 55% growth. The cargo movement in 1998 was approximately 1.2 million, and by 2008 it had increased to an estimated 1.9 million mark, presenting a 58% increase. The master plan projected annual growth of the air traffic of 20%. This exponential growth means that the airport must work towards increasing its capacity to accommodate the future demand.

Analysis of Airside Infrastructure


Length 25,300 m (83,000 ft)
Width 30 m (98 ft)

Passenger terminal buildings. (Source: Changi, 2009).

Floor area 1,045,020 m2(11,248,500 sq ft)
Handling capacity c. 70 million passengers
Parking bays 92 (aerobridge)
10 (contact)
42 (remote)

In principal, Airport master plans are generally developed on the basis of forecasts. The forecast gives the basis in which the relationship between demand and the capacity of an airport can be established and the requirements for the airport can be determined (Rees, 1992). That is, the establishments of short term, intermediate and long-range plans are drawn (Rees, 1992). This normally takes about 5, 10, and 20 years respectively (Rees, 1992; Pomeret & Mahlich, 1997).

Analysis of Airside Infrastructure

Existing Airside Infrastructure

The existing passenger loading bridges are customized and operate from gate rooms with every PLB having 3 arms unlike the traditional two arms so that the passengers can get into the upper cabins of the plane directly from the gate-hold rooms (Changi, 2009a). The 90 m carousels where A380 airbuses load their baggage is significantly longer that the conventional ones which are standardized at 70 m; this is meant to give time for passengers to embark and disembark easily and quickly (Changi, 2009a; Edmonds & Wollenberg, 2008).

Use of the Runways & Optimization

Runaways. Runway 02C/20C. (Source: AIPORT-DATA.COM).

Dimension: 13123 x 197 ft / 3999.9 x 60.0 m

Runway 02C

Runway 20C

Longitude: 103.984953 / E 103° 59′ 05.83″ 103.999022 / E 103° 59′ 56.48″
Latitude: 1.328742 / N 01° 19′ 43.47″ 1.362067 / N 01° 21′ 43.44″
End Elevation: 15.0 ft 15.0 ft
Alignment: 023.0 203.0
Slope: 0.0 0.0
Touchdown Zone Elev.: Unknown Unknown
Lighting System 1: Sequenced Flashing Lights Sequenced Flashing Lights
Lighting System 2: Centerline Lighting System Touchdown Zone Lighting
Lighting System 3: High Intensity Runway Lights Centerline Lighting System
Lighting System 4: Runway End Identifier Lights High Intensity Runway Lights
Lighting System 5: ALSF-1 Runway End Identifier Lights
Lighting System 6: PAPI – Precision Approach Path Indicator ALSF-2
Lighting System 7: PAPI – Precision Approach Path Indicator

Runway 02L/20R. (Source: AIPORT-DATA.COM).

Dimension: 13123 x 197 ft / 3999.9 x 60.0 m

Runway 02L

Runway 20R

Longitude: 103.977436 / E 103° 58′ 38.77″ 103.991483 / E 103° 59′ 29.34″
Latitude: 1.348956 / N 01° 20′ 56.24″ 1.382211 / N 01° 22′ 55.96″
End Elevation: 22.0 ft 14.0 ft
Alignment: 023.0 203.0
Slope: -0.1 0.1
Touchdown Zone Elev.: Unknown Unknown
Displaced Threshold: 0 ft 2429 ft
Lighting System 1: Sequenced Flashing Lights Sequenced Flashing Lights
Lighting System 2: Touchdown Zone Lighting Centerline Lighting System
Lighting System 3: Centerline Lighting System High Intensity Runway Lights
Lighting System 4: High Intensity Runway Lights Runway End Identifier Lights
Lighting System 5: Runway End Identifier Lights ALSF-1
Lighting System 6: ALSF-2 PAPI – Precision Approach Path Indicator
Lighting System 7: PAPI – Precision Approach Path Indicator

Runway 02R/20L. (Source: AIPORT-DATA.COM).

Dimension: 9015 x 195 ft / 2747.8 x 59.4 m

Runway 02R

Runway 20L

Longitude: 104.004242 / E 104° 00′ 15.27″ 104.013900 / E 104° 00′ 50.04″
Latitude: 1.332803 / N 01° 19′ 58.09″ 1.355678 / N 01° 21′ 20.44″
Alignment: 022.8 202.8
Slope: Unknown Unknown
Touchdown Zone Elev.: Unknown Unknown
Lighting System 1: PAPI – Precision Approach Path Indicator PAPI – Precision Approach Path Indicator

Current Utilization

There are two runaways currently in use: The Runaways, 02C/20C and East Rwy 02L/20R. However, they are too close to each other, and the pilots are likely to mistake one for the other. The other problem is that the runaways can easily be confused with the ones at Paya Lebar, thus instigating the use of aids available.

The airport is known to accommodate international and domestic airlines. It therefore follows that both large (e.g. A380) and small aircrafts (e.g. A320) are major clients of the airport; hence both the runways are used for takeoff as well as landing depending upon the traffic peaks. In short the airport has mixed mode runway operation.

The third runaway, Runway 02R/20L is mainly by the military. At present, plans are put to change the runaway into full usage (3rd runaway) in the future. During thunderstorms, the wind speed can be relatively high derailing landing schedule

Weather Conditions

  • The location is off tropical cyclone zone, hence does not experience any severe wind patterns. Furthermore, the monsoon wind is not strong enough to destabilize the landing pattern
  • Other than wind pattern, the general weather pattern is not severe and the runaways are well lit with enough lighting system.

Additionally, runaway capacity in terms of operations per hour is a function of the aircraft size (Sanchez, 1976). The smaller aircraft can be accommodated at a higher rate at Changi (Sanchez, 1976; Schmucker, 1983). This is because of their lower runaway occupancy time and ability to perform tighter maneuvers in the air (Sanchez, 1976).

Aircraft Stands and Parking Requirements

There are visual docking guidance systems or marshaller that is a must for all parking. An existing stopping guidance at North-East and South-East piers and RLG visual docking guidance system installed at all fixed gates at terminal 2. There are also SAFEGATE visual docking guidance system installed at all fixed gates at terminal 1 & 3. Fixed yellow lights (ACFT stand maneuvering guidance lights: ASMGL) are provided along ACFT stands.


  • It is possible to confuse Paya Lebar AD for Changi AD located 4NM W,
  • It is also possible to confuse Changi East for RWY 02C/20C. Changi East is for military use only,
  • Birds are at the vicinity of AD hence limiting the full operations

It is important to build nose-in aircraft stands. Many airports with high density of operations such as Heathrow’s Terminal Four and East Midlands airport in the UK have been designed and constructed with nose-in aircraft stand types (Buchanan, 1993). Besides being space sufficient, they facilitate the use of passenger loading bridges, which may be apron drive bridges with 3-degrees of freedom or nose loaders (Club of Rome, 2002). At times more airbuses are used to speed up the movement of passengers, even sometimes reaching over the wings to the door, though IATA does not recommend this (Dobbie & Hooper, 2001). It is estimated that a third bridge to the A380 at Changi Airport will save 19 minutes on boarding and 12 minutes on disembarking (ECAC/CEAC & EUROCONTROL, 2001). IATA does suggest that a world class airport will serve 90% of passengers by airbridges (Dobbie & Hooper, 2001). Using push-back tractors allows closer spacing of this type of stand, thus reducing the apron size (BAA, 1999a; Dobbie & Hooper, 2001).

The height of the walls on the apron is limited and in most cases does not exceed 3 meters. Because of this, they are effective for under wing mounted engines only (ICAO, 2001; European Commission, 2002).

Much larger blast fences are often installed to protect public areas around apron, as at Heathrow or they may be in the form of a latticework rather than vanes, as at East Midlands airport in the UK (Lever & Dimitriu, 2001; Janić, 2001).

Strategy for Development of Airside Infrastructure

Airside Infrastructure Functionality

An aircraft’s take off performance is dependent on the elevation, obstacles in the take off path and runaway length available. The airside portion of an airport encompasses all facilities that support aircraft and aircraft-related activities such as runaways, taxiways, Apron, and hangers. Other than these ground facilities the surrounding airspace is also considered under this category (May, 1997). These airside facilities provide the infrastructure necessary for the operation of the aircrafts (Meadows, 1992; May, 1997). It therefore means that well operational airside facility needs proper planning and design to ensure safety of airport employees, passenger and the aircraft. The efficient movement of aircraft and support equipment on airport property ensures the overall safety and security of airport premises while protecting and enhancing airport environs (Meadows, 1992). However, the arriving aircrafts at Changi are forced to rely on hand signals and guidance of the aircraft marshaller. This becomes complicated especially when the aircraft marshaller is absent as pilots are not allowed to taxi into the stand.

Proper planning is necessary to ensure the development of the airport is methodological and comprehensive enough to meet the current demand as well as provide areas for future growth and development as demand increases for aviation services (Manchester Airport, 2000).

In constructing these airside infrastructures, it is important to establish runaway safety areas (RSAs), which are graded and or paved areas immediately surrounding a runaway that are free from obstacles and used to protect an aircraft from damage in the event it leaves the runaway (GRI, 2002). It is required that RSAs to drain sufficiently and in a dry weather can support snow removal, equipments, aircraft rescue equipments, and the occasional aircrafts (EEA, 2001; GRI, 2002).

Object- Free Areas (OFAs) are also important sections to be taken care of during construction (GRI, 2002; BAA, 1999a). They are normally centered on the runaway or taxi centerlines and must be free of objects except for those needed for navigation or maneuvering (GRI, 2002). Parked aircraft is an example of obstacles prohibited from entering OFA (GRI, 2002). Additionally, the Runaway Protection Zones are very important.

Environmental factors strategy

Other than meeting the regulations put in place by the government and international organizations like United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and other environmental regulatory bodies, it is important to take the initiatives of caring and protecting the environment for future sustainability (Dias-Sardinha & Reijnders, 2001; DETR, 2009).

What has Changi done? According Authority’s statements on environment, the Airport Group is “committed to the sustainable growth of Singapore’s aviation sector and addressing its impact on the environment” (Changi, 2009b). Some of the initiatives that the airport authority at Changi has taken are in areas of civil works, energy efficiency, water conservation and management, and recycling of the wastes (Changi, 2009b).

Recent IBM research revealed that corporate social responsibility has a capacity to yield some substantial financial rewards and at the same time offer competitive advantage to the firm in question (Changi, 2009b). In fact, the study established that it is not just pure attempt to achieve the set rules and regulations or to reach the red-tapes kinds of compliances, and even trying to please the public to satisfy their views; it’s the opportunity for growth (Airport Technology, 2009b).

In the beginning of last year (2008), the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore under its continuous desire to increase efficiency, awarded tender worth S$300million for a new modern air traffic control to Thales to be applied in long-range radar as well as display system III (Airport Technology, 2009b). This is a highly advance extra efficient system that features the most modern communication technologies, intended to assist air traffic controllers speed up the landing and taking off of the airplanes (Airport Technology, 2009b). According to Lim Choon, CAAS director-general, the equipment will help improve the issues of safety and efficiency in terms of fuel saving (Airport Technology, 2009b). However, Probert (2006) says that what Changi is implementing is just but “a small symptom of what happens everywhere” (Probert, 2006).

In the United States, many airports are applying Clean Air Partnership’s (CAP) Green Airport Initiative (GAI) as their guideline for initiating future development (Airport Technology, 2009b). This approach has seen many of their projects not only meet the standards set but surpass it as well speed up their sustained growth (Airport Technology, 2009b). Such airports are like Dallas Fort Worth Airport.

Unlike the non-specific Changi Airport environmental policy, DFW has gone ahead and identified specific areas where its emissions emanate, i.e. aircrafts contributes nearly two thirds, ground support equipments account for a fifth, and auxiliary aircraft power units- 2% (Airport Technology, 2009b). This prompted an ‘airport-wide policy’ to make airlines minimize fuel consumption as well as emissions (Airport Technology (2009b). In addition, the airport is considering the proposal to use renewable energy sources as away, and also trying to quantify emissions at its premises so as to enable them construct a baseline where they are able to assess emissions (Airport Technology, 2009b). If they are able measure the amount of emissions, they will be in a position to apply for emission credit for their efforts.

An optimum model for Environmental sustainability within an Airport
Fig 4: An optimum model for Environmental sustainability within an Airport: Comprise a holistic individual assessment of all contributing factors to environmental change such as planes, terminals ground vehicles, etc (Source: Airport Technology, 2009).

Aerodrome Obstacles & Performance Limitations

Aerodrome with proper dimension has the capacity to influence all parts of its system in its approximate equilibrium, thus there is no critical bottlenecks in the system (Zadeh, 1995). In principle some portions of aerodrome can bear a short term overload, other cannot. Zadeh (1995) says that the apron should be dimensioned in such away that peak hour delay is an acceptable minimum, usually no more that 2% of flights. To cope with these small number of movements, and to ensure that delays do not back up into taxiways or into the air or capacity of the apron, Changi has establishing parking ramps away from the terminal building. Such stands are usually not equipped with any technology (Zimmerman, 2001). In most cases, they are used for charter flights and for aircrafts waiting for an on-line repairs, but are extremely useful to accommodate aircrafts that would otherwise block taxiways while waiting for specific stands to become available (Zimmerman, 2001; ACI, 1998).

A380 Compatibility Issues

The A380-800, with a wingspan of 79.8m falls under the ICAO Annex 14 Code F category.

International Civil Aviation Organization’s Airside Infrastructure Recommendations for Code F aircraft:


  • The minimum runaway width is 60m
  • Runway shoulders should be at least 7.5m on each side, with a total minimum width of 75m
  • Precision approach Category I, II and III runway-holding positions should be located at least 107.5m from the runway centerline

Taxiways and Taxi-lanes:

The following are the minimum recommended dimensions for the A380 compatibility

  • Width of a taxiway: 25m.
  • The clearance between an outer main wheel and the taxiway edge: 4.5m
  • Taxiway shoulders and grading of the taxiway strip width of 60m
  • Taxiway/ Instrument Runway centerline separations: 190m
  • Taxiway/Non- Instrument Runway centerline separations: 115m
  • Parallel Taxiway centerline separation: 97.5m
  • Taxiway centerline and object separation: 57.5m
  • Aircraft Stand Taxi-lane centerline and object separation: 50.5m (ICAO, 2009)

Even though the current airport infrastructure has the capacity to host A380 category, it is apparent that A380 operations would lead to a surge in passenger traveling in peak hours, thus bringing about constraints at the available passenger terminal processing facilities. Typically, Airbus A380 has a carrying capacity of 555 passengers in three-class configuration, representing a 30% more than the 400 capacity B747-400 (Berglund & Lindvall, 2005).

Construction of Third Runway

At present, the airport is equipped with two parallel runways, 02L/20R (4,000m) and 02C/20C (4,000m) (Changi, 2009a). The 02L/20R started operating in 1981 as part of the planned phase 1 (Changi, 2009). The phase 2 project saw the second runway 02C/20C being constructed on a reclaimed land (Changi, 2009a). The completion of another parallel runaway 02R/20L (2,748M) measuring 1.8km to the east of 02C/20C was opened in 2004 even though until now, only Singapore Air Force uses the facility (Changi, 2009a). The plans are underway to turn this facility to third runaway for the future use and plans for expansion (Changi, 2009a).

As was noted earlier.

Analysis of Landside Infrastructure

For any proposed airport planning project, a review of how such expansion would impact depending on the landside infrastructure is necessary. It is therefore important to analyze the landslide infrastructure at Changi and to look into what it should look like.

Passenger Terminals

Basically, the principle goal of the terminal area is to reach the desired equilibrium by reducing all the obstacles that would bring: (i) inconvenience to the passenger, (ii) inefficiency in operation, and (iii) limit investments in the airport facility (British Airways, 2001). Buchanan (1993) explains that the physical and psychological comfort characteristics of a terminal area should give the passenger an opportunity to for orderly and convenient progress from automobile or public transportation through the terminal to the aircraft and back again.

One of the most important factors affecting passenger is the walking distance (Buchanan, 1993). It all begins when the passenger leaves the ground transportation vehicle. The building of the terminal is a rather complex major public-use facility serving the needs of passengers, air carriers, visitors, airport administration and operations, and concessionaires (Buchanan, 1993). Clearly, a different objectives and space requirements are sought by each of these groups of users. It therefore follows that conflicts in the objectives and space requirements often arise in planning passengers handling system (Wilhelm & Parsaei, 1991).

It has been realized in Airport planning that two sets of space criteria are needed (Grayling & Bishop, 2001). One is a set of criteria that can be used for general concept evaluation (Grayling & Bishop, 2001). This entails general considerations that the planners use to evaluate and select among the alternatives in a primary fashion prior to any detailed design and development. The other set of space criteria is the actual criteria for design and development (Grayling & Bishop, 2001). In this set, specific performance measures are needed in order to evaluate the likely operation of well-developed plans.

However, even though general concept evaluation criteria can be developed on the basis of experience and observation of existing terminal buildings, the more specific design and development criteria requires use of some analytical techniques (Grayling & Bishop, 2001).

Terminal Capacity Optimization & Construction of New TPS3

The advent of large airbuses has changed the capacity problem from the runaway to the passenger processing terminal. Basically, this has led to problem in areas such as: Apron requirement, location of the airbridges, baggage handling, and handling large batches inside the terminal. Luckily, Changi has ensured these facilities are strategically placed to facilitate its future expansion plans and current operations

Cargo Operations

The layout of the facility for handling cargo is influenced by all the parameters that determine the airside design to the passenger handling terminal (ICAO, 2001). However, the increasing average size of aircraft is influencing the degree to which cargo can be considered separately from passenger handling (Berglund & Lindvall, 2005)

According to Berglund & Lindvall (2005), the cargo industry has always looked forward to the day when it would be able to commission its own dedicated freighter aircraft design. They says that such an aircraft do not exist n quantity because its so much cheaper to use the surplus carrying capacity in the holds of scheduled passenger services (p.88)

Development Plan for Cargo Operations

Changi Airport has a Cargo Division situated at the north of the airport and is under the management of the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (Changi, 2009). The airport’s airfreight has been boosted by Chinese economic prosperity especially from the beginning of 2005 when they managed to handle 1, 854,610 tonnes of air cargo, an improvement of over 3% in the previous year 2004 (Changi, 2009). The cargo business has uplifted Changi to be one of the busiest airports in terms of cargo handling, having been ranked number 10 and 5 in the world and Asia respectively (Changi, 2009). The airport specializes in the electronic cargo, which is one of Singapore’s main sectors (Changi, 2009). However, the growing need for perishable cargo have not been taken care of, despite the latest attempt to initiate the cargo handling diversification to meet the growing demand.


From this analysis, it is important to present some critical inferences as follows:


  • It is evident that there is consistent growth of passengers, cargo and aircraft movements at Changi Airport. The Airport is located in a relatively spacious land that would allow expansion. However, the existing space is not fully utilized.
  • There is lack of diversification in the ability to handle different types of cargo, hence limiting the airport’s ability generate more revenue
  • Although Changi Airport has put in place a good plan to take care of the global increase of passengers, it critical that environmental issues have not been given much priority.
  • The master plan has no section that clearly states the protection zone of the runaway rather than to increase the size of the runaways for Terminal 1 and 2 in anticipation of big operators.

Future Directions

The global predictions indicate that the number of passengers and cargo will continue to rise with the increase in globalization. Precisely, it has been predicted that the world passenger volume is to approximately grow by 5% annually. Similarly, the freight business is also expected to continuously rise at an approximate annual growth of 6%. It is thus critically important to note this increase in activities at the airport will require more advanced approach to management of all areas of the airport operations, and these activities must be sustainable at long run.

Impact of Privatization and Deregulation

Privatization and deregulation impact airport development and planning

Privatization has increased the competitiveness of the airline industry. The increased competition and passenger traffic means that airports all over the world try to find ways of keeping up with the challenge (Changi, 2009). One such way is through upgrade of the available infrastructure. The impact saw Singapore complete S$240 million upgrade of Changi’s second terminal (Terminal 2). Later, in 2008, it opened another Terminal 3 that cost S$ 1.75 billion, to keep up with the new capacity requirements. A new plan is in place to build terminal 4 (Changi, 2009).

With the privatization and deregulation of major regions’ major airports like Dubai, Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok, Changi had to find ways of withstanding this level of challenge (SCAN, 2000). These airports threatened to dislodge Changi’s dominance on the Kangaroo route (the busy route between Asia and Europe) (SCAN, 2000). This was the idea that gave birth to Terminal 3 towards the end of 1990s to increase the operational size of the airport in order to gain competitive advantage (Worldwatch Institute, 2002).

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Appendix 1

Table 1: Operational statistics (Source: Air Traffic Statistics, 2008).

Year Passenger movements Airfreight movements (tonnes) Aircraft movements
1998 23,803,180 1,283,660 165,242
1999 26,064,645 1,500,393 165,961
2000 28,618,200 1,682,489 173,947
2001 28,093,759 1,507,062 179,359
2002 28,979,344 1,637,797 174,820
2003 24,664,137 1,611,407 154,346
2004 30,353,565 1,775,092 184,932
2005 32,430,856 1,833,721 204,138
2006 35,033,083 1,931,881 214,000
2007 36,701,556 1,918,159 221,000
2008 37,694,824 1,883,894 232,000
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