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    Oct 26, 2015

    Flight boom takes off at Changi

    MORE flights and new destinations will open up for travellers from Changi Airport as airlines ramp up after a period of slowdown.

    From now until the end of the year, about 100 new flights will be added each week, bringing the total number of weekly services at Changi to more than 6,700.

    Some carriers will also swop smaller planes for bigger jets on existing routes, which along with the new services will translate into more than 23,500 additional seats a week to destinations in Europe, Asia, Australia and New Zealand.

    The numbers are based on schedules pre-filed by carriers for what is known as the Northern Winter season which started yesterday and ends in March.

    Changi Airport Group senior vice-president for market development, Lim Ching Kiat, told The Straits Times that the airport's regional footprint has been boosted over the last 12 months by "strong expansion" in key markets.

    "In particular, we are encouraged by the launch of new services and the increase in passengers travelling with low-cost carriers, following a period of depressed demand."

    The airport will continue to support the growth aspirations of its airline partners to develop the Singapore air hub, he added.

    New destinations being added include Lucknow in India, which Tigerair will start servicing with three flights a week from December.

    Changi will then be linked to 13 Indian cities, including Bangalore, Chennai, Kochi, Hyderabad and Tiruchirapalli.

    The Singapore-India market will further expand with plans by Singapore Airlines to increase from 14 to 17 its weekly flights to Mumbai.

    Indian carrier Jet Airways has also started offering more seats on its daily New Delhi-Singapore service by switching from the single-aisle Boeing 737-800, which it used to operate on the route, to the bigger twin-aisle Airbus A330-200 aircraft.

    Other destinations being added to Changi's network are Pattaya, which Thai AirAsia will fly to from next month, and Yinchuan in northern China, which Air China will service via Chengdu.

    Cebu Pacific in the Philippines, Bangkok Airways, SilkAir and Jetstar Asia also intend to boost the number of flights to existing destinations.

    In the long-haul sector, SIA's budget arm Scoot will start flying to Melbourne from Sunday.

    British Airways will offer 10 per cent more seats to London by operating the A-380 superjumbo daily on the route from three times a week now.

    Travellers like private tutor Elaine Sim, 23, welcome the new choices.

    She said: "These days, there are so many destinations to choose from, especially within the region, which is great for short breaks and for those of us who can't afford long, expensive holidays."

    Last year, total passenger traffic at Changi Airport hit a record 54.1 million but the growth of 0.7 per cent was the smallest since 2009.

    Between January and August this year, traffic increased by 1.8 per cent with 36.5 million passengers handled.