Efficient Technology at Terminal 4 Changi Airport
At the beginning of October, Singapore’s Transport Minister S. Iswaran told parliament Singapore’s Changi Airport flights are set to exceed eighty per-cent of 2019 levels by year-end. During September, Changi Airport’s average weekly passenger traffic was already operating at approximately sixty per-cent of pre-pandemic levels.
As Singapore accommodates for rising passenger levels, it merits taking a closer look at how Changi’s Terminal 4 optimises staff and space. The terminal has a significant focus on technology, more specifically still, on automating the departure process. Initially opened nearly five years ago on 31 October 2017, Terminal 4 was closed for two years as a result of the pandemic. However, on 13 September 2022 Changi Airport reopened Terminal 4 letting passengers experience the end-to-end automated departure process.
Containing twenty-one gates, the terminal has the capacity to accommodate 16 million passengers annually. Terminal 4 can handle two-thirds of the capacity of Terminal 3, despite being only one-third of its size. This is a testament to the terminal’s optimisation of space. Despite being smaller, it operates with impressive efficiency. The key to this achievement is the end-to-end automation of the departure systems.
The check-in desks are self-service as are the bag drops. The check-in process alone is estimated to take up to three minutes and utilises biometric screening that will account for minor changes in appearance. Luggage tags are received at check-in, which the passenger fastens to the bag themselves during the self-serve baggage drop process.
Although there are some in-person desks available if required, the airport puts an emphasis on self-service in an effort to make the entire airport experience more efficient and optimise the available space and staff.
The terminal also has an automated immigration system. Passengers simply scan their passports and verify with a dual facial and thumbprint biometric recognition system. This is another part of Changi’s Fast and Seamless Travel (FAST) initiative.
Finally, the security process features a 70 metre LED screen displaying animations, destinations, and landmarks to make the stereotypically tiresome experience more enjoyable. At security checks, passengers are not required to remove electronics from their bag as the scanning process itself uses a CT scanner instead of a traditional x-ray to provide staff with a 3D image of the bag.
Changi Airport has won World’s Best Airport nine times and Terminal 4 is the newest addition. It is a leading airport with regards to the application of technology for efficiency of staff and space, and is guiding the way for airport optimisation.
Article by Jess Brownlow