SINGAPORE: Changi Airport’s newest terminal is set to open on Oct 31, according to Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan.
In a Facebook post on Wednesday (Sep 6), Mr Khaw said more than 100 trials, involving 2,500 airport staff and 1,500 volunteers, have been conducted at Terminal 4 (T4) since construction was completed last December.
"After endless rounds of testing and fine-tuning, we are ready to open T4. Another big step forward in our journey as a global #airhub," he wrote.
Changi Airport Group said in a press release that a "small number" of checks and reviews will be completed in the final phase of preparations.
Cathay Pacific and Korean Air, two of the nine airlines which will operate from T4, will be the first to shift over to the new terminal on Oct 31.
The first arrival and departing flights – both Hong Kong flights – at T4 will be operated by Cathay Pacific.
The remaining seven airlines – the AirAsia Group (four airlines), Cebu Pacific, Spring Airlines and Vietnam Airlines – will shift to T4 between Nov 2 and Nov 7.
TESTS STARTED IN OCTOBER 2016
Preparations for flight operations at T4 started in October last year, the airport said.
"This began with table-top exercises to develop the standard operating procedures, and later progressed to ground deployment exercises to familiarise staff with the new terminal and processes," it said.
Volunteers from the airport community and members of the public were also invited to role-play as passengers to test critical systems and processes, such as the Fast and Seamless Travel (FAST) system.
The FAST system includes automated check-in kiosks for the retrieval of flight bookings as well as the printing of boarding passes and bag tags. It also features automated baggage drops, immigration clearance and boarding gates - all equipped with facial recognition technology. Passengers' identities are verified by matching their faces with their photos in passports.
Trials involving selected commercial flights at T4 were also held in recent weeks, the airport said.
“The past months have been a very crucial period for us as we conducted intensive tests and trials, not only to ensure that the systems work well, but also to understand how passengers navigate the new terminal," said Mr Tan Lye Teck, executive vice-president for airport management.
Areas of improvement were identified following the trials, and feedback from trial participants was used to fine-tune systems and processes, he said.
"We will take the next few weeks to complete the last set of trials as we prepare for the commencement of operations at T4,” Mr Tan added.
T4 TO BOOST CAPACITY TO 82 MILLION PASSENGERS
The new S$985 million, two-storey T4 is the airport's smallest terminal at just half the size of Terminal 3. With a capacity of about 16 million passengers, T4 will bring the airport’s overall capacity to 82 million passengers a year.
The new terminal will also showcase elements of local heritage and culture, a mini-theatre show in collaboration with composer Dick Lee, as well as designs inspired by the orchid.
Automation is touted as one of T4's major breakthroughs. Besides the FAST sytem, the airport is introducing new technology in baggage handling, security, retail and housekeeping – sectors which employ 80 per cent of all Changi Airport staff.