SINGAPORE: Singapore will decide by the end of this year when to open the third runway at Changi Airport for civil aviation use. The runway is currently used by the military only.
And given the strong growth potential, this may happen two to three years ahead of Hong Kong’s third runway, which is scheduled for 2023.
More airport terminals may also spring from a 1,000—hectare piece of land in Changi.
The chairman of Changi 2036 Steering Committee Josephine Teo revealed this during an update on the committee’s work.
The committee, which was set up earlier this year, has been visiting other emerging and top aviation hubs to keep a close watch on the competition.
Josephine Teo, who is also the Minister of State for Finance and Transport, said: "All the airports that we are looking at are already of about the same capacity as ours; they are planning for passenger handling capacity for 100 million and beyond.
"Most of them are already thinking beyond two runways.
"Hong Kong has set in motion plans for third runway; Incheon already has three.
"This is really in response to how they are looking at the growth potential for civil aviation. It reaffirmed our assessment that the growth potential is a very healthy one."
So the committee is now finalising plans to open Changi’s third runway for civilian use. And it’ll need to be extended to accommodate all aircraft types before it can be opened for commercial use.
Mrs Teo said: "Runways, like all airport infrastructures, generally (require) fairly long lead times. Just an indication, for Hong Kong, they are looking at 2023. For us, we have a distinct advantage. It’s not that we don’t have a runway three. We will definitely be able to do it, two to three years faster than them, mainly because we don’t need to reclaim (land)."
The committee is also exploring how to develop a 1,000—hectare piece of land between runway two and the future runway three. This includes a part of Changi Coast Road.
Mrs Teo said: "Keeping the road there is an option, expunging the road and making it just completely part of the airport parameter is also an option. So we have to study both options, we have to look at the pros and cons. That’s why the Land Transport Authority’s involvement is very critical."
The area may also site future terminals, a second and new control tower and facilities that complement the air hub.
Mrs Teo said: "Part of the committee’s job is to decide when we might need a fifth terminal or for that matter, the committee has to explore whether it should be a fifth terminal or a fifth and sixth terminals.
"What configuration it ought to be, so that is part of the master planning. Both in terms of timeline and ideal configuration."
By 2017, when the new Terminal 4 is completed, Changi Airport will be able to handle 85 million passengers a year, compared to the current 73 million.
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