Well-heeled traveller or shoestring backpacker, there’s space for both

The new Budget Terminal

CHEAP and cheerful or luxury unlimited, Changi Airport does both with equanimity.

Two new terminals opened at the airport this year, each dedicated to its own niche market.
In March, the city-state opened one of the world’s first low-cost terminals, appropriately called Budget Terminal, standing alongside Heathrow’s T5 and Marseille’s mp2.  “Low-cost carriers currently account for some 11 per cent of total flights from Changi,” says Goh Yong Long of the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS). “Low-cost areas carriers connect to 24 cities out of Singapore and we see that as a potential growth area, particularly into markets like China and India.” Built at a cost of S$45 million ($28.5 million), the 25,000sqm terminal comprises two adjacent single-storey buildings for departure and arrival and will initially be able to handle about 2.7 million passengers annually. And while there’s no bling anywhere in sight (nor carpets or travellators), some national capital airports would stack up unfavourably alongside. What it does offer is some of Singapore’s fabled shopping: but be warned, alongside the pre-packaged liquor sit mass-market and dime-store brands.
At the other end of the spectrum sits the new CIP (commercially important person) Terminal, Asia’s first luxury facility for passengers travelling on commercial or private aircraft, who can put down money for the VIP service a head of state automatically gets, says Goh. Facilities include beige fabric waiting sofas instead of plastic benches with internet access on coffee tables in front of you, four free nap rooms (24-hour notice required), three meeting rooms with teleconferencing facilities that can be hired out S$100 an hour, a basic spa, a mini gym, four sets of showers with chi-chi amenities, free refreshments, jetside limousine service and sit-down easy check-in, among other amenities.
The terminal is by JetQuay, a Singapore-based joint venture involving four companies and some 50 passengers daily are expected to pay annual membership fees of S$2000.
“With the opening of the CIP terminal, Changi's travelers now have a full range of services to choose from,” Raymond Lim, Singapore’s Minister for Transport said at the opening ceremony of the CIP terminal.