Singapore Changi’s Terminal 5 is coming sooner than you think

May 19, 2022

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Singapore Changi Airport (SIN) is on the cusp of something big …

Following a two-year pause due to “pandemic-fueled uncertainties,” plans are again underway for the development of a mammoth fifth terminal which the airport hopes will serve 50 million passengers alone upon completion.

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Construction of T5 is primed to begin in the next two years with a view to opening the shiny new hub around the mid-2030s. This is a real show of strength as the country continues to adapt to the effects of COVID-19. It will also allay fears for anyone who believed that the expansion was shelved indefinitely.

Singapore, like most of Asia’s travel market, was hit particularly hard by travel restrictions during the worst of the pandemic. However, on Wednesday the country’s Transport Minister S. Iswaran announced the project was back on the table and in better shape than ever.

Related: 7 takeaways from my 1st Singapore Airlines business-class experience

In fact, he revealed that this two-year hiatus actually provided an opportunity for developers to take a step back and improve upon some of the finer details of the $10 billion project.

“We have taken the opportunity of the two-year hiatus to comprehensively review the T5 design to make it more modular and flexible, and enhance its resilience and sustainability,” he said. “We will re-mobilize the design and engineering consultants progressively, to update and further refine the T5 design.”

The Jewel Waterfall inside Singapore’s Changi Airport is deemed to be the world’s tallest indoor waterfall. (Photo by Ethan Steinberg/The Points Guy)


Set on a 2,668-acre site as part of the Changi East project, T5 will deliver three extra runways and tunnel systems to the precincts, as well as provide the airport with over 100 additional departure gates. This will go some way to deal with an expected 135 million passengers annually by 2030 — by comparison, in 2019 the airport had a footfall of 68 million passengers.

According to Iswaran, the recent hiatus means the new terminal will have the advantage of being designed specifically to “meet the needs of post-pandemic travel” rather than simply tweaking its infrastructure to cope with safety changes, as many major terminals have done in recent times.

There are numerous reasons to be excited about what could be on offer. Considering that Changi is already home to the world’s largest slide in an airport and the world’s tallest indoor waterfall, who knows what could feature here? We imagine the world’s biggest duty-free Toblerone bar just won’t cut it.

The relaunch of the Terminal 5 build should be music to the ears of millions of business travelers, too, what with Singapore continuing to vie with China as one of the world’s leading financial hubs, as this recent study shows.

For now, Singapore is opening up to travel faster than ever. It dropped many of its COVID-19 travel restrictions back in April, including quarantine and arrival tests for fully vaccinated visitors.

Those who’ve flown through Changi will know just what a sleek colossus it is. Even without T5, it’s already one of the best airports on earth and soon enough it’s going to get even better. 2035 might sound like a lifetime away, but let’s not forget London Heathrow (LHR) T5 took the better part of a decade to complete after beginning in 2002.

They do say that time flies …

Featured photo courtesy of Singapore Changi Airport.

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