December was once again the busiest month of the year, recording 6.13 million passenger movements (+4.5%) and 33,400 (+1.4%) aircraft movements, said Changi Airport Group (CAG). Airfreight throughput dipped 3.8% to 182,000 tonnes. For the first time in a month, the air hub welcomed more than six million passengers. The busiest day of the year was December 21, 2018, with 221,155 passengers passing through Changi’s terminals—also a new record for the airport.
In 2018, Europe, South Asia, the Americas, and Africa recorded double-digit growth. Among Changi’s top 10 markets, India and Japan registered the strongest growth, rising 12% and 10%, respectively, followed by China and Vietnam which saw annual growth of 7%.
Changi Airport’s top 10 routes remained unchanged but with slight changes in the rankings. Bangkok and Denpasar (Bali) each moved up one spot to second and sixth position respectively. Six of Changi’s top 20 routes grew by at least 5%—Denpasar (Bali), London, Manila, Melbourne, Mumbai, and Sydney.
Meanwhile, growth was observed for airfreight throughput across all segments—exports, imports, and transshipments. For the year, the top five markets for airfreight were China, Australia, Hong Kong, the United States, and India.
During the year, Changi Airport welcomed three passenger airlines—Guangxi Beibu Gulf Airlines, LOT Polish, and Shandong Airlines. Seven new passenger city links were also established, to China (Nanchang), Germany (Berlin), India (Guwahati, Pune, Vijayawada), Indonesia (Belitung), and Poland (Warsaw).
Traffic between Singapore and India, Changi’s sixth largest market, rose to 4.76 million in 2018. Singapore is now linked to Northeast India via Guwahati, operated by Drukair Royal Bhutan Airlines. The connection to Pune opens up a direct connection between Singapore and the second largest city in Maharashtra State, one of Changi’s top unserved points in India. The air link between Singapore and Amaravati’s Vijaywada Airport was also a significant milestone, marking Singapore’s partnership with Andhra Pradesh to build the new capital city of Amaravati in Southeast India.
Connectivity to Europe strengthened with non-stop links to Warsaw and Berlin. Qantas reinstated its Singapore-London service, while Lufthansa resumed operations to Munich. Today, Changi Airport is directly connected to 19 cities in Europe, a 10-year high.
On the ultra-long-haul front, Singapore Airlines launched the world’s longest flight to New York (Newark), as well as introduced non-stop services to Los Angeles. Traffic between Singapore and the continental United States increased 21% in 2018, with 74 weekly services to Houston, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, and Seattle.
Looking ahead, Lim Ching Kiat, CAG’s managing director, air hub development, said that while 2018 was another strong year for the airport, 2019 is expected to pose challenges, including rising fuel prices and trade tensions.
However, despite these potential headwinds impacting the industry, “demand for air travel in the Asia Pacific region is forecast to grow steadily,” Lim said.
Photo courtesy of Changi Airport