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    Jan 10, 2014

    Changi airport capacity to be doubled

    CHANGI Airport's fifth mega terminal could handle as many as 75 million passengers when it opens in the middle of the next decade.

    This is part of plans to almost double the capacity of the airport over the next decade with two new terminals, as economic growth in the Asia-Pacific region makes it more affordable for people to travel by air.

    Asia's second-busiest airport for international travel is expected to handle about 5 per cent more passengers each year through the next decade, Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew said on Wednesday.

    A fourth terminal, which will be built by 2017 at a cost of S$1.28 billion, will handle 16 million passengers annually.

    A fifth will be added in the middle of the next decade to handle 50 million travellers, he said. The capacity of the fifth terminal, which Mr Lui described as a "mega" terminal, could increase to 75 million, he added.

    "We need to have capacity ahead of demand," Mr Lui said in an interview.

    "You see rising income levels in South-east Asia and Asia. You see aviation being increasingly within the reach of a larger segment of the population."

    From Vietnam to Indonesia, more than a dozen budget airlines have started across South-east Asia in the past decade.

    Economic growth in the region, with a population that's two times bigger than that of the United States, boosted demand for air travel.

    Changi, which serves more than 100 carriers, has the capacity to handle 70 million passengers with the existing three terminals, he said.

    The airport will also lengthen a runway currently operated by the air force for commercial use, adding to the existing two landing strips.

    Changi handled 48.6 million visitors in the first 11 months of last year.

    In the interview, Mr Lui also said Singapore needs its certificate-of-entitlement system.

    Mercedes sold 3,506 cars in the 11 months to November and BMW sold 3,295, according to the Land Transport Authority's website.

    "That attests to both the success and the purchasing power of Singaporeans," Mr Lui said.

    "Therefore, if we do not impose some constraints on the growth of private vehicles in Singapore, I'm sure that many more people will want to own a car."