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    Aug 08, 2016

    Changi may run out of space by 2032: Forecast

    CHANGI Airport which already plans to more than double its current capacity could run out of space a few years after Terminal 5 opens by the end of the next decade.

    By the time the new facility is up and running, the airport will be able to handle up to 135 million passengers a year - from 66 million now.

    The additional capacity could be fully utilised by 2032 or even earlier, according to leading industry consultancy OAG. It has, for the first time, done a detailed analysis on Changi's growth prospects.

    The forecast is based on past traffic patterns, plans by home carrier Singapore Airlines and developments in the region.

    On the surface, the case for a doubling of traffic seems less strong than it might have been a few years ago, the report noted.

    Singapore's position as a stopover for long-haul travellers, for example, has been challenged in recent years by rival airport hubs and, in particular, Dubai.

    Qantas' decision in 2013 to move its hub for Australia-Europe flights from Singapore to Dubai, for example, has reduced Changi's share of the market.

    Other trends though suggest there is much for Changi to look forward to, OAG noted.

    In the last 10 years, passenger traffic at the airport increased by an average of 5.5 per cent a year.

    Between January and June this year, growth was much higher at 8 per cent, with 28.8 million passengers handled.

    Despite the slowdown in long-haul traffic, the Singapore airport is taking advantage of strong growth in the region.

    A third of routes in and out of Changi is under 3,000km - about hour hours' flight time.

    At the other end, the proportion of routes above 6,000km has fallen from 13 per cent in June 2010 to 11.3 per cent in June this year.

    The forecast is sound, said Kent Yar, deputy managing director and global head of aerospace at Morgan Philips Executive Search.

    Future decisions on whether capacity needs to be boosted beyond 135 million a year though will have to take into account different factors, he added.

    For example, planners will need to ascertain if the demand is short-term due to low oil prices that would stimulate the industry, or more long-term.