SINGAPORE: Singapore’s Changi Airport handled a record 51 million passengers last year. This is 10 per cent more 2011.
In December alone, the airport saw close to five million passengers, an 8.6 per cent increase year—on—year.
The air hub’s busiest routes cover Jakarta, Hong Kong, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur and Manila.
Flight movements grew by 7.6 per cent to some 325,000.
On December 22, last year, a daily record of 180,400 passengers passed through Changi Airport within 24 hours.
Meanwhile, analysts said Changi Airport looks set to expand its aircraft handling capacity and maintain its competitiveness.
This, as it revamps the Budget Terminal to reopen as Terminal 4 in 2017, hence increasing runway availability.
Looking ahead, Changi Airport says it plans to further strengthen links to emerging markets like Russia and Africa.
Lim Ching Kiat, senior vice president of market development at Changi Airport Group, said: "In the longer term, we are interested to further develop markets like Russia and Africa. We need work with existing partners as well as look for new airline partners and other trade partners to work with to further grow these links."
Meanwhile, the airport’s connectivity to secondary cities like Gold Coast and Padang in Indonesia has kept it competitive against other regional air hubs like Incheon International Airport.
Subhranshu Sekhar Das, director of aerospace and defence practice at Frost & Sullivan, said: "Changi has a challenge all the time as it is a small base. Attracting international transit passengers is one of the strategies Changi has clearly positioned itself as one of the best airports in providing services to transit passengers. Changi is trying to create a positioning in the industry to attract new carriers and create this hub so that requires a lot of investments in runway expansion."
However, due to uncertainties in the global economy, the airport experienced a decline of 3.2 per cent in cargo volumes to 1.8 million tonnes.
Changi Airport has increased landing fee rebates for freighter aircraft from 20 to 50 per cent to help their partners relieve costs.
Still, experts remained upbeat and said that the outlook is hopeful.
James Fong, assistant vice president for cargo development at Changi Airport Group, said niche cargo segments such as perishable and pharmaceuticals have been growing pretty well over the past year.
"We will continue to work hard at these specific segments and hopefully we’ll bring about some growth for us," said Mr Fong.
Mr Sekhar Das said: "Having seen the recovery is still under progress, it (cargo volume) will continue to decline for a few months. But in subsequent quarters, we will see the cargo volume grow. Asia Pacific domestic markets are really performing well. Some of the countries have outperformed the productions numbers expected in Q4 2012 so that will give a boost to the cargo traffic."
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