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Singapore Changi Airport’s Traffic Nears Pre-Pandemic Levels in 2023

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Changi Airport’s 2023 passenger traffic recovers to 86% of pre-Covid level, boosted by strong Q4 growth


Singapore Changi Airport witnessed a significant recovery in its operations during 2023, with 58.9 million passenger movements throughout the year. This impressive figure showcases a resurgence of 86% of the airport’s pre-pandemic passenger traffic in 2019. While aircraft movements reached a sizeable count, with 328,000 landings and take-offs, it still trails behind the past metric of 382,000 recorded in the pre-pandemic era.

Despite the challenges posed by the uncertain global economic climate, Changi Airport’s airfreight throughput reached 1.74 million tonnes for the year. However, this represents a reduction of 6% year-on-year.

Highlighting the last quarter from October to December 2023, Changi Airport’s resurgence saw passenger traffic crossing the 90% recovery mark, totaling 16.1 million passenger movements. December stood out as the busiest month of the year, boasting 5.8 million passenger movements — nearly reaching the traffic levels of December 2019 at 91%.

The festive period further spiked this trend, with the busiest day falling on 22 December 2023. On this day, the Friday right before Christmas, 203,000 passengers were recorded traveling through Changi’s facilities.

Aircraft activity for December maintained a strong performance with 30,400 movements, paralleling the overall passenger traffic recovery at 91% of 2019’s numbers. The airfreight throughput, however, experienced a slight dip of 1.5% compared to the same month in the previous year, totaling 150,000 tonnes.

In conclusion, as the figures demonstrate, Singapore Changi Airport is steadily inching closer to its pre-pandemic operations, with significant growth in passenger numbers and steady aircraft movements despite a slight decline in airfreight throughput.

Changi Airport Traffic Recovery

Changi Airport
Changi Airport

Air Travel Rebounds Strongly in 2023, with North America Leading the Charge

In an impressive turnaround from the slump caused by the pandemic, air travel demand has surged beyond expectations in 2023. North America has emerged at the forefront of this resurgence, witnessing an astonishing growth that surpasses its pre-COVID numbers by over 25%. This significant leap signals a robust recovery for the aviation industry.

European and Asian Regions Nearly Fully Recovered

Europe, coupled with the Southwest Pacific and South Asia, has also made remarkable strides towards reaching full recovery, each managing to attain more than 90% of their passenger traffic from pre-pandemic times.

Exceptional Growth in Northeast and Southeast Asia

The growth narrative continues, with Northeast Asia setting a pace unmatched by its predecessors. This region has seen its passenger traffic multiply by over four times compared to the previous year, thanks in no small part to a massive upswing in travel activity between China and Singapore.

Trailing closely in Southeast Asia, which posted an impressive 72% increase in year-on-year growth, further underlining the sector’s trajectory toward complete rejuvenation.

Changi Airport: A Hub of Steady Growth

Singapore’s Changi Airport serves as a prime reflection of the upward trend, with its top passenger markets being Indonesia, Malaysia, Australia, Thailand, and India. The airport has also recognized China, Japan, and South Korea as its fastest-expanding markets. China has skillfully climbed into Changi’s top 10, securing the sixth slot with nearly four million travelers.

The interactions between Japan and Singapore have not been left behind, with passenger traffic tripling compared to 2022. Moreover, air travel to and from South Korea has recovered and reached 36% above pre-pandemic levels, marking it as the most significant rebound.

World’s Busiest International Route and Cargo Insights

Regarding the busiest air routes, five cities take the lead with Changi Airport: Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, Jakarta, Denpasar (Bali), and Manila. Notably, the route to Kuala Lumpur is the world’s busiest international route based on seat capacity.

Although the air cargo sector has encountered a minor decline amidst global economic headwinds and inflation, Changi has retained a strong presence in the market, with its leading cargo links being China, Australia, Hong Kong, the USA, and India.

As the world continues to adapt post-pandemic, the aviation industry’s substantial growth in 2023 offers a hopeful glimpse into the future of global travel and commerce.

2023: An Invigorating Year for Changi Airport

Mr Lim Ching Kiat, Changi Airport Group’s Executive Vice President for Air Hub and Cargo Development said, “2023 was an invigorating year, as we witnessed the resounding resumption of travel across the world, as well as the full reopening of Changi Airport’s Terminal 2. The upswing in travel was fuelled by strong outbound travel demand, as well as growing inbound travel. The growth in passenger traffic was especially strong in Asia, with an acceleration seen in the last quarter. Changi Airport also resumed connections to more than 10 cities this year, including Addis Ababa, Changsha, Ningbo, Kaohsiung, and Okinawa. We have restored almost 90% of our pre-Covid city links to date, with Changi Airport now the 5th busiest airport in the world by seat capacity[1]

“We step into 2024 hopeful of making a full recovery back to Changi Airport’s pre-Covid connectivity and traffic levels. As more travelers around the world rekindle their wanderlust, we will continue to work with our airline partners to bring exciting destinations and new travel experiences to travelers.”

Enhancing Connectivity

Changi Airport in Singapore has expanded its global reach by adding three new airlines to its family in 2023, including Air Macau, Firefly, and TransNusa. These additions bring exciting new passenger city links to Changi’s already extensive network, with the introduction of flights to Bhubaneswar, India, and Sanya, China. In a significant milestone, Changi Airport inaugurated its first connection with Beijing Daxing Airport through China Eastern Airlines.

In collaboration with the Singapore Tourism Board, TUI Airways, and Marella Cruises, Changi Airport is set to become a prominent hub for fly-cruise tourists from the United Kingdom. This tripartite three-year agreement ensures that from December to April, each season until 2026, Changi will welcome these visitors, with TUI Airways providing thrice-weekly flights from London-Gatwick, Manchester, and Birmingham.

Air Canada has also made headlines by announcing its much-anticipated return to Changi Airport after an absence of over three decades. In April 2024, the airline will launch a four-times-weekly non-stop service between Vancouver and Singapore. Furthermore, Singapore Airlines is gearing up to initiate new flights to Brussels and London Gatwick in April and June 2024, respectively.

The cargo sector at Changi Airport also received a boost with the introduction of three new freighter services in December 2023. These services are brought by MSC Air Cargo, which is operated by Atlas Air, as well as by Sichuan Airlines and Myanmar National Airlines.

As of January 2024, Changi Airport boasts impressive air connectivity, with 93 airlines operating more than 6,700 weekly scheduled flights. This facilitates connections between Singapore and 154 cities across 49 countries and territories worldwide, emphasizing Changi’s role as a major international aviation hub.

Singapore Changi Airport 2023 Traffic Statistics

Changi Airport’s traffic statistics are available at http://www.changiairport.com/corporate/our-expertise/air-hub/traffic-statistics.html.

[1] https://www.oag.com/busiest-airports-world-2023

Annex A: Changi Airport Passenger, Aircraft and Airfreight Movements 2023

Annex B: Top 10 Passenger Markets for Changi Airport

Changi Airport 2023 Year In Review: Infographic

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