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12 Interesting Facts About Singapore’s Changi Airport

It does not matter if you are a Singaporean, a Permanent Resident or even just a visitor, being able to be served by such a stellar airport is a great feeling to have. But that’s not all, read on to find out even more interesting facts of Changi Airport that you may not even know!

For an international airport of a small little island, Changi Airport is one of Singapore’s greatest source of pride and honour. For the sixth year in a row, it is voted as the Best Airport in the World by SKYTRAX; it is also voted as the best airports by countless polls and surveys too. Since its opening, the airport has snagged up more than 557 awards — in 2017 itself, 26 “Best Airport” awards were won.

With its new extension complex, the Jewel Changi Airport, set to open in 2019, the 6-time SKYTRAX champion offers amazing amenities, services and facilities for all travellers passing through its gates. Beyond just an airport, it doubles up as a great shopping and dining destination for travellers and locals alike.


The Changi Airport Concept was Birthed in 1975

During the earlier years of Singapore’s history, Paya Lebar Airport was the island’s only airport and there were only very basic functions and facilities offered. For those who still remember Changi’s Budget Terminal, Paya Lebar Airport was even more no-frills. At some point, Paya Lebar Airport hit its maximum passenger capacity and thus, the Government made a decision to move the airport to somewhere with room to expand and far away from the city centre. Changi Airport began its conceptual development in 1975 and would eventually cost the nation SG$1 billion, Singapore’s single largest public project as of then.


Changi Airport Sits on What was Once the Sea

To build the new airport, Singapore needed to reclaim land around the Changi Coast area. The land reclamation and earthworks took two years to complete and the airport construction began only in 1977.


1 July 1981, The Date Changi Airport Became Operational

On 29 and 30 June 1981, Paya Lebar Airport moved its operations over to the new Changi Airport, officially took over all operations on 1 July 1981. The first aircraft to land on the brand new tarmac was SQ101 – a Singapore Airlines flight from Kuala Lumpur with 140 passengers onboard, and the first departure was by SQ192 – another Singapore Airlines flight heading towards Penang.


Among the First Airports to Introduce the Aerobridge

Many airports require passengers to board and alight from the aircraft via a wobbly flight of stairs loosely connected to the fuselage while strong winds blow or people are exposed to the elements. To ensure the comfort of travel begins from the airport itself, Changi Airport became one of the first airports in the world to introduce a covered walkway linking passengers from the terminal to the aircraft.


Terminal 1 is Only 10 Years Older than Terminal 2

Changi Airport soon surpassed a visitorship of 10 million, prompting the Government to start building its second terminal a mere 5 years after Changi Airport’s commencement. In 1986, T2 began its development as T1 was unable to keep up with the volume.


1988, Changi’s First “Best Airport” Award

As Singapore climbed in global rankings across all sectors and areas of governance, Changi Airport managed to reach the pinnacle in 1988, clinching its first “Best Airport” Award by Business Traveller UK.


Terminal 2 and the SkyTrain

10 years after Changi Airport was open for business, T2 was officially opened in 1991 by the then-Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong. To facilitate human movement between the two terminals, a faster and easier mode of transport must be available to shuttle between T1 to T2 conveniently. To do that, an internally-servicing light rail, the SkyTrain, was introduced. Not only does it offer seamless movement between the terminals, but it also allowed airport visitors to see more of the airport in action.


The Late Princess Diana Visited Changi Airport in 1993

The late Princess Diana gave the airport a royal endorsement by visiting and touring around Changi Airport in 1993 and even personally presented it with its 6th “Best Airport” award by the Business Traveller UK.


Changi Airport, the SKYTRAX “Airport of the Year”

In 2006, Changi Airport finally snagged the coveted “Airport of the Year” title by SKYTRAX. The fact that 2006 was also Changi Airport’s 25th anniversary made the award even more meaningful and joyous. The SKYTRAX World Airport Awards began in 1999 and the results are based on extensive surveys conducted on millions of international travellers based on their experience of various airports.


Changi Airport Terminal 3 opened in 2008

With great fanfare, Changi Airport opened its third terminal, housing top-notch shopping and dining options outside the transit areas and a myriad of free activities and facilities within. There was also the world’s first Butterfly Garden in an Airport, home to more than 1000 butterflies.


World’s Best Airport for the 5th Consecutive Year

In 2017, Changi Airport won SKYTRAX’s World’s Best Airport for the 5th time in 5 years and was heading towards setting a record.


World’s Best Airport for the 6th Consecutive Year

In 2018, Changi Airport achieved a remarkable feat seen by no other. In SKYTRAX’s World Airport Awards survey involving more than 13 million travellers, the airport came out on top of a line-up of 500 airports to snag the 6th World’s Best Airport for the 6th consecutive year, setting a new record in the history of the awards. The airports were ranked according to passengers’ evaluation of their airport experiences, from check-in processes and flight transfers to leisure, security and immigration processes.