5 Fast Facts About Singapore’s Changi Airport

So many things have been going on at Changi Airport that it’s getting hard to lose track. Considered one of the best in the world, Singapore’s airport has just announced that it will open its new Terminal 4 (or T4 for short) on October 31.

The upcoming Terminal 4. All photos courtesy of Changi Airport.

Changi Airport also announced that it just signed a five-year agreement with Alipay, a Chinese mobile payment system. This means that visitors in Singapore can now use the latter for paying for items at their duty free section, or for dining in any of the establishments within the airport.

And then there’s the news that SATS (they’re the ground-handling and catering service provider of the airport) will give 600 of its ground staff smart glasses. According to Channel News Asia, using these contraptions will enable their team to access loading instructions and determine an item’s weight and where they should put it within the aircraft.

All of these developments occurred only within this week, proof that Changi deserves its stature as one of the best airports in the world.

Facade of Terminal 1.

To understand this airport better, here are some quick facts about Changi:

The airport has a moving, hypnotizing sculpture called Kinetic Rain. And someone tried to steal parts of it.

Made in 2012, the sculpture, found at Terminal 1, is composed of 1,216 bronze raindrops. The brainchild of artists as well as programmers of German firm Art+Com Studios, it took two years to build the artwork. Occupying more than 75 square meters with a height of 7.3 meters, the piece is the largest of its kind in the world.

Kinetic Rain is divided into two parts above the terminal’s escalators. Sometimes they move in unison and at other times they follow each other. The patterns though will always take the shape of flight-related objects such as planes or kites.

In 2013, the media in Singapore went on a tizzy when a woman in a white dress climbed over the airport’s railing and grabbed sections of the raindrops. The lady was arrested, of course.

More than 58.7 million passengers have landed in Changi Airport in 2016.

Changi is relatively young (it opened only in 1981), but it has grown tremendously the past few decades. In 1998 it saw 23.8 million passengers, which has more than doubled last year. But there are airports around the world that are far busier in 2016. There’s Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International (104.2 million), Beijing Capital International (94.4 million), and Dubai International (83.6 million).

The slide at Terminal 3.

Jakarta, Indonesia is its most popular route.

As of 2016, Southeast Asian countries topped the list of Changi Airport’s most popular routes. Based on January to September 2016 statistics published by The Straits Times, travelers in the airport are either going to or arriving from Jakarta (more than 3 million), Bangkok (more than 2.98 million), Kuala Lumpur (more than 2.96 million), and Hong Kong (more than 2.7 million). It’s connected to more than 380 cities worldwide.

The world’s leading airlines, as well as the under-the-radar ones, fly to and from Changi Airport.

Singapore Airlines flies from Changi Airport.

Big names such as national flag carrier Singapore Airlines, Air France, Lufthansa, Delta, and KLM operate in the airport. But there are also relatively unknown ones that fly from there—think Batik Air of Indonesia and Air Niugini of Papua New Guinea.

Anyone can enter the airport, even if they’re not flying.

Unlike the airports in Manila and Jakarta, anyone can just go in and enjoy Changi in all its glory. A common sight at the airport is that of teenagers studying in fastfood joints.

There have been instances in the past where visitors will buy tickets, check in, and enter Changi’s departure gates—but choose not to board the aircraft. Those who do this are people who want to see off loved ones for the last time, while others who have done it just want to stalk their favorite celebrities (no kidding). The airport has warned that this practice is against the law.

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