SINGAPORE: Changi Airport saw a record 65.6 million passenger movements in 2018, Changi Airport Group (CAG) said in a news release on Tuesday (Jan 29).
This figure beats 2017's record of 60 million passengers with a 5.5 per cent increase.
Of the total passenger movements, 6.13 million passengers travelled through Changi Airport in December alone, making it the first month the airport saw passenger numbers exceed 6 million.
The Friday before Christmas, Dec 21, proved to be the busiest day of the year with a record 221,155 passengers movements.
NEW AIRLINES, NEW DESTINATIONS, WORLD'S LONGEST FLIGHT
According to CAG, the airport's top 10 routes - with Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok and Jakarta being the top three destinations - remained largely unchanged. Hong Kong (4th) and Manila (5th) rounded up Changi Airport's top five routes.
Bangkok and Bali each moved up one spot to second and sixth position respectively.
CAG also revealed that six of Changi’s top 20 routes grew by at least 5 per cent - Bali, London, Manila, Melbourne, Mumbai and Sydney.
During the course of the year, Changi Airport welcomed three passenger airlines - Guangxi Beibu Gulf Airlines, LOT Polish and Shandong Airlines, and Singapore Airlines launched the world's longest flight to New York.
Qantas also reinstated its Singapore-London route in 2018, while Lufthansa resumed operations to Munich. Connectivity to Europe further strengthened with non-stop links to Berlin and Warsaw.
Changi Airport is now directly connected to 19 cities in Europe, which is a 10-year high, according to CAG.
Traffic between Singapore and India, Changi’s sixth largest market, rose to 4.76 million in 2018, said CAG. Singapore is now linked to Northeast India via Guwahati, operated by Drukair Royal Bhutan Airlines.
CAG also embarked on a new initiative to work with travel agents to offer flight charter services to new destinations in China, such as to Guiyang and Zunyi.
Charter services to other Chinese cities such as Yancheng, Yichang and Zhangjiajie are also being explored, it added. China is Changi’s third biggest market, with 15 airlines operating more than 370 weekly services to 36 city links.
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Overall in 2018, the airport saw a total of 386,000 landings and takeoffs, 3.4 per cent higher than the year before. Airfreight throughput increased by 1.4 per cent to reach 2.15 million tonnes for 2018 as well, said CAG.
“2018 was another strong year for Changi Airport," said CAG’s managing director for air hub development, Mr Lim Ching Kiat.
"We are pleased with the introduction of new city links, as well as the growth of long haul routes from Changi Airport, including the launch of the world’s longest service between Singapore and New York."
He added: “Our newest terminal T4 completed its first year of operations, and served 8.3 million passengers in 2018.
"Later this year, Jewel Changi Airport will open its doors to the world."
Jewel Changi Airport is a 10-storey retail and lifestyle complex that is set to open in the first half of 2019. Its tenant mix will include Nike, Pokemon, Shake Shack and Shaw Theatres among others.
"Jewel will augment Changi Airport’s status as an air hub. Terminal 1’s expansion will also be completed, increasing the airport’s handling the capacity to 85 million passengers per annum," said Mr Lim.
However, he noted that 2019 may pose challenges like rising fuel prices and trade tensions for the industry, but added that demand for air travel in the Asia Pacific region is expected to "grow steadily".