Terminal 4 at Singapore’s Changi International Airport commenced operating last October and it’s easy to see why the airport constantly takes out the top spot in every major survey of passengers.
Designed by SAA Architects and built at a cost of some S$985 million (about US$737.5 mln) Changi Airport Terminal 4 features state-of-the-art facial recognition systems, centralized security screening, and expansive self-service options, making it possible to go from the airport entrance doors to the door of the aircraft without having to have any human contact.
Not only setting the benchmark for the region (are you taking note Thailand, Philippines, Indonesia?) in efficient airport passenger handling, the range of ‘airside’ amenities at Changi Airport Terminal 4 means there are many worse things in life than missing your flight.
In fact, if Changi Airport continues to make the ‘airside’ so attractive soon there might not be any need to actually enter the country, with people spending their entire vacation in Singapore in the air conditioned transit area.
With a capacity of 16 million passengers annually Changi Airport Terminal 4’s extensive use of technology not only delivers a more efficient service for passengers, it also delivers manpower savings of 20 per cent over conventional airport passenger handling methods.
At the heart of Changi Airport Terminal 4s ‘contactless’ system is a suite of self service options with the appropriate acronym Fast (Fast And Seamless Travel)
Those travelling through Changi Airport Terminal 4 can use one automated kiosk to check in, print their own luggage tags and boarding passes at another, before proceeding to an automated bag drop where luggage is whisked away by the wonders of modern technology and automated systems to the trolleys destined for your aircraft.
Singapore citizens, permanent residents, long term pass holders, or visitors whose fingerprints are registered with the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority on arrival can pass through an automated border control process (excludes children aged under 6), before proceeding to a modern CT scanner security system negating the need for electronics such as laptop computers to be removed from cabin luggage as with conventional x-ray scanning.
Finally, after having managed to get to the gate without having spoken to one single airline employee or immigration officer, those who have passed through the automated border control process can scan their boarding pass to board the aircraft, where hopefully a real person will be on hand to perform the pre-departure safety demonstration that most people appear to ignore.
|CNBC correspondent Uptin Saiidi puts the Fast system at Changi Airport Terminal 4 to the test. From airport entrance to aircraft door without any human contact Video CNBC International|
If the Fast system at Changi Airport Terminal 4 isn’t enough to make you want to use the terminal just to experience what state of the art airport passenger handling really is, there’s also the ‘airside’ attractions, including the rapidly nearing completion Canopy Park at Jewel Changi Airport featuring a huge ‘rain vortex’ claimed to be the world’s largest indoor waterfall, a canopy bridge and skynets suspended 25 metres (about 82ft) above a forest of trees, the world’s first mirror maze set in a garden, and Singapore’s largest hedge maze.
Airlines flying into Changi Airport Terminal 4 are Vietnam Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Cebu Pacific Air, Korean Air, Spring Airlines, and AirAsia.
Although a skytrain does not link Changi Airport Terminal 4 to the three other terminals, shuttle buses rapidly whisk passengers transferring to other airlines to the required terminal — where they’ll need to deal with humans to get to the plane.
From what is on offer at the other major airports in the region Changi Airport Terminal 4 is without a doubt a Best of the AEC, and what others in the region should rapidly mimick rather than merely parroting the phrase “smart nation” and the like, while apportioning only a small fraction of the revenue generated from overseas air travellers to improving airport infrastructure.
Feature video Changi Airport
Update: This story was last updated at 08:39 on May 9, 2018:
- Singapore’s Changi airport may use facial recognition systems to find late passengers (Asia One)
- Keeping Changi Airport’s flag flying high (The Business Times)
- Singapore Changi Airport appoints consultants for T5 development (Airport Technology)
- A Look at What Makes Singapore Airlines the Best Airline in the World (video) (AEC News Today)
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