Singapore International Airport
Singapore International Airport is also known as the Singapore Changi Airport. It is currently the seventh busiest international airport in the world and is an essential transportation hub in Asia. The airport is located 10 miles northeast of downtown Changi. The location was first opened in 1955 as a small airport with a single runway. The number of passengers and flights coming through the area increased dramatically over a very short period of time. The airport was continually upgraded in order to keep up with demand. Singapore International Airport continues to see consistent annual increases in the number of flights and passengers passing through the terminals. This has resulted in a near constant effort to modernize, maintain, and expand the facility.
Singapore International Airport has two primary runways. They are positioned directly next to each other. Both runways measure 13,100 feet long by 197 feet wide. They were specially prepared in the 1990s to accommodate the largest passenger planes in the world. Special instrument landing systems are installed on the runways that allow planes to land during adverse weather conditions. The airport has a third shorter runway located over a mile from the passenger runways. This third runway is used exclusively by the Republic of Singapore Air Force. Plans are in place to extend the third runway so that it can accommodate passenger planes.
Terminals at Singapore Airport
Singapore International Airport has three expansive terminals. A fourth terminal is currently under construction. All of the terminals are linked together. Passengers move between terminals on foot, on automated walkways or on a skytrain. Terminal one was originally opened to the public in 1981. It covers over 3 million square feet of space. The terminal is decorated with unique pieces of art and many live plants. There is a pool located in the center of the terminal where visitors can sit and watch the water. Renovation plans for the terminal that are currently underway include the installation of the largest kinetic sculpture in the world.
Terminal 2 was opened to the public in 1991. It covers 3.8 million square feet. The skytrain system is based in this terminal. The large majority of carriers have counters in this area. The space was designed to be highly functional. The structure runs parallel to the runways. There are also several offices in the area including the main branch of the Air Accident Investigation Bureau of Singapore.
Terminal 3 was opened in 2008 in order to accommodate the increasing number of passengers coming into the airport. This terminal occupies 4.1 million square feet of space. It is architecturally unique and very different from the other terminals. The walls are made from glass and the interior space is designed to appear organic and tropical. There are plants located throughout the space including a large butterfly garden. A 16-foot tall waterfall flanked by vertical plantings is open to visitors passing through the area. The architecture has won awards in the past.
A smaller budget terminal once occupied 300,000 square feet of space. The budget terminal was recently closed. It is currently being renovated and rebuilt to become a massive fourth terminal for the airport. This step was necessary because flights and passengers coming through the airport have been increasing dramatically in recent years.
Singapore International Airport served over 46 million passengers in 2011. More than 4 million people passed through the gates during the busiest months of the year. The airport handled over 300,000 takeoffs and landings during the same period of time. More than 1.8 million tons of cargo is processed at the airport each year. The constant upgrades, innovative designs and efficient processing of passengers have earned Singapore International Airport more than 390 awards over the last 30 years including the Best Airport Worldwide award in 2010 and 2011.