SINGAPORE: Changi Airport will see the first commercial flights arrive at and leave Terminal 4 in the coming weeks, as part of the final phases of trials ahead of the new terminal's official opening, Changi Airport Group (CAG) said on Wednesday (Jun 21).
The trials will involve selected flights by airlines that will be operating from the terminal. These include Cathay Pacific, Cebu Pacific, Korean Air, Spring Airlines, Vietnam Airlines as well as the four AirAsia airlines.
These flights will provide opportunities to identify gaps which might not have surfaced earlier, the airport management said, adding that recent flight trials involved chartered military flights.
It added that, in recent months, volunteers have played the role of passengers to test the terminal's systems and processes - including Fast and Seamless Travel (FAST) options, security screening and baggage reclaim.
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.
Based on CAG's projections and tests, the FAST system could bring between 10 and 20 per cent savings in terms of manpower demands at the terminal, once systems are stable and staff are fully trained.
"Our key focus is to implement all the operational readiness trials, and that has started since last year in October," said Ms Poh Li San, CAG's Vice President of its T4 Programme Management Office. "To date we have completed more than 100 trials, involving more than 2,000 volunteers who came to participate, and more than 1,000 airport staff who did the trials with us."
Ms Poh added that CAG has worked closely with its security partners to look at the stability of the FAST system in identifying passengers.
The airport has been trialling facial recognition technology with Cathay Pacific and AirAsia at Terminal 1 since February this year, and said it has achieved a success rate of between 80 and 90 per cent. CAG added that, in the past three months, more than half of the airlines' passengers chose the FAST option.
CAG added that the official opening date of Terminal 4 will be determined after all trials show that it is ready for operations.