Editor’s Note: Monthly Ticket is a CNN Travel series that spotlights some of the most fascinating topics in the travel world. September’s theme is ‘Build it Big,’ as we share the stories behind some of the world’s most impressive feats of engineering.
Singapore’s Changi Airport has long been considered a destination in itself, so much more than just a generic space one passes through to hop on a plane and fly somewhere else.
For a decade, it went undefeated in the annual Skytrax ‘World’s Best Airports” awards, losing its crown to Qatar’s Hamad International Airport in 2021. In 2022, it landed in third place on the list, falling behind repeat winner Hamad International and Tokyo’s Haneda Airport.
Now, as travelers return to the city-state and its much-hyped airport following the lifting of pandemic-related travel restrictions earlier this year, Singapore officials are focused on the future – and that includes expansion.
Details have recently been revealed for Terminal 5, with officials promising a space that is a social extension of Singapore rather than just another piece of transport infrastructure.
“Airport as a city”
During a National Day Rally in late July, Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced that T5 will add capacity for about 50 million passengers per year.
That’s a big number considering its four current passenger terminals are able to handle about 82 million passengers a year.
Pointing to a map while making his address, he noted that T5 will be as big as all four present terminals put together.
“We are building one more new Changi Airport,” he said. “It is huge.”
Construction of T5 will kick off in about two years, with the facility expected to open to travelers in the mid-2030s. Located within the 1,080-hectare Changi East development, it will have a three-runway system and be linked to the other four terminals.