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Changi’s Budget Terminal

April 2012


Singapore has the best airport in the world, a distinction it has maintained despite challenges from similar world-class airports like the ones in Hongkong and Incheon. It currently has 3 huge terminals for mainly full service airlines including the very impressive Terminal 3. Singapore also has a Budget Terminal, which I have observed as serving only 2 airlines, both budget – Tiger Airways and Cebu Pacific. The Budget Terminal has most of the amenities of the three other main terminals and is also excellently maintained with its sparkling clean floors and toilets. In fact, when one arrives at the airport for an early flight, you will notice that there are people (mostly caucasians) lying on the floor somewhere taking a nap while waiting for their counters to open. I guess it beats renting a room at a hotel considering you can burn time at the airport with all its facilities available, 24 hours. Following are a few photos I was able to take while waiting for the airline counter for my flight to open and also while waiting for my boarding call.

A McDonald’s outlet at the Budget Terminal

Queues at the Tiger Airways check-in counters

Airport staff pushing carts toward the gates

Passengers queued before the Departure gate prior to the immigration counters

Tiger Airways is one of the more successful budget airlines in the region, a distinction in shares with AirAsia and Cebu Pacific

You see a lot of passengers with large boxes or luggage including what are obviously electronics (giant LED or LCD TVs are quite the bargain in Singapore).

Corridor to the gate

Wheelchair for passengers requiring it and sign stating priority for boarding (PWDs, pregnant women, those with small children)

The waiting area at the end of the linear budget terminal

Seats at the waiting area – view from the end of the corridor

I have learned from friends and acquaintances that there are plans to scrap the Budget Terminal. In its place, a Terminal 4 will be built and all budget airlines will be served by the collective of four terminals at Changi. There has been mention of a 5th terminal but I guess that will be further in the future. One can’t be certain though since air traffic at Changi is still steadily increasing along with the travelers handled by the airport. Singapore knows it has to maintain its advantage as a hub connecting Asian destinations with the rest of the world and Changi is at the forefront of the city-state’s efforts to also maintain its leverage and status as a global center for business in the region.

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