SINGAPORE (Sept 6): Nine airlines will be shifting over to the new Terminal 4 (T4) over a one week period as the terminal commences operations on Oct 31 this year, says Changi Airport Group (CAG).

In a press release on Wednesday, CAG reveals the scheduled commence date for T4 and says its announcement follows the successful conclusion of major trials, with “a small number of checks and reviews” to be completed in the final phase of the preparations.

T4 will add a capacity of 16 million passengers per annum to Changi Airport, bringing the airport’s total annual handling capacity to 82 million passenger movements. The airport's fifth terminal is currently being built, and is said to be Changi's biggest with its 30-million-person capacity. 

To ensure a smooth transition of flight operations from existing terminals, operations of nine T4 airlines will be shifted over to the new terminal within a one-week period.

Cathay Pacific Airways and Korean Air are slated to shift to T4 on Oct 31 when the terminal commences operations, while Cebu Pacific Air and Spring Airlines will be moved on the same week on Nov 2.

AirAsia Group, which comprises four airlines, together with Vietnam Airlines, will be the last to shift over on Nov 7.

The first arrival and departing flights at the terminal will be operated by Cathay Pacific – CX659 from Hong Kong and CX650 to Hong Kong, with their scheduled times of arrival (STA) at 5:40am and 6:50am, respectively, at local time.

The group said it had, in recent weeks, conducted trials involving selected commercial flights with airline partners at T4 – which it claims were essential to validate, in a live setting, the inter-operability and process integration of the airport’s and airlines’ systems.

According to CAG, over 100 trials have been conducted, and this involved more than 1,500 volunteer participants and 2,500 airport staff.

“We have identified areas of improvement following those trials. Feedback gathered from trial participants has also been very useful to CAG and our partners in fine-tuning our systems and processes. We will take the next few weeks to complete the last set of trials as we prepare for the commencement of operations at T4,” says Tan Lye Teck, executive vice president of CAG.

Khaw Boon Wan, Coordinating Minister for Infrastructure and Minister for Transport, says the opening of T4 that the launch on Oct 31 marks another big step forward in Singapore’s journey as a global air hub.

“Next month will be another busy month for MOT [Ministry of Transport]. #DowntownLine3 opens on Oct 21. Extensive testing has been underway for months. Happy to announce the opening of #Terminal4 on Oct 31… After endless rounds of testing and fine-tuning, we are ready to open T4. Another big step forward in our journey as a global #airhub,” wrote the minister in a Facebook post on Wednesday morning. 

In Dow Jones' view, the opening of Changi's fourth terminal comes "just at the right time" with air traffic having risen 5% this year, and Changi Airport being on pace to top 60 million passengers overall this year.

This figure is a first for the airport and is close to capacity for its current terminals, says the financial information firm in its Market Talk commentary published today by Dow Jones Institutional News.