Singapore Changi Airport has fully reopened its Terminal 2 following a massive 3.5-year expansion project.
And given that it was voted the world’s best airport at the 2023 Skytrax Airport Awards, it’s no surprise that this is no ordinary transformation.
Approximately 21,000 square meters (226,000 square feet) were added to the original terminal, providing additional infrastructure, new systems and more shopping and dining offerings.
Nature is the main design theme of the renovated T2, with one of the star attractions being a 14-metre-high digital waterfall display. Surrounded by a vertical garden, “The Wonderfall” is located in the departure hall and cascades over megalithic rocks.
Keeping with the nature theme, in the departure transit area, travelers can visit the new Dreamscape Garden, which features an array of plants, all brought to life by a “digital sky” that changes color depending on the time of day. the day.
Meanwhile, fans of vintage travel will want to check out Flap Pix, an art installation that takes inspiration from the classic split-flap mechanical flight information signs that were once the norm at airports. According to Changi, 1,080 split shutters were reused to create it.
“With T2, we sought to enhance the passenger experience, bringing together a modern terminal inspired by nature, with immersive digital experiences, innovative technology, and transformative retail and dining concepts that create a sense of belonging,” said Lye Teck, Changi. Airport Group program director for the Terminal 2 expansion project, in a press release.
New retail and dining experiences include the two-story Lotte Duty Free Wine & Spirits, which has its own robot bartender. Above the bar, there is a 30-meter LED ring depicting a moon reflected in a lake, which the Changi team says is a tribute to Tang Dynasty poet Li Bai’s famous work, “Drinking alone under the moon.
On the upper level is the Forest of Li Bai, a luxury lounge offering 18 whiskey choices under an LED ceiling. There is also a smart selfie mirror that visitors can use to take photos with famous K-pop artists.
In terms of dining, new additions include Gourmet Garden, which offers views of the airport apron and Singaporean flavors including Harry’s Satay Club and Wee Nam Kee Chicken Rice.
According to a statement released by the airport, the T2 expansion project, which began in January 2020, will increase Changi’s passenger capacity by 5 million, bringing its total handling capacity to 95 million passengers per year.
Sixteen airlines operate from the terminal, connecting Singapore with 40 cities.
WHAT MAKES THE “BEST” AIRPORT SO GREAT?
Singapore Changi Airport has topped the Skytrax list of best airports for eight consecutive years, but in 2021 and 2022 it dropped a few places in the list due to falling passenger numbers during the pandemic, l Hamad International Airport in Doha, Qatar, taking the top spot. instead. Changi took back the crown at this year’s awards, announced in March.
Indeed, it has come a long way since its opening in 1981, replacing the single-runway Paya Lebar Airport.
By 1986, construction of Terminal 2 had already begun – in response to the growing influx of passengers – and the new facility was opened to travelers in 1991.
But it was the introduction of never-before-seen amenities that really caught the attention of travelers around the world.
For example, the world’s first transit area swimming pool was added to Changi in 1995, kicking off a series of additions that would further widen the gulf between the airport and other airports around the world.
Among these were the addition of an information center, movie theater and sports arena in 1998.
Changi Airport’s Terminal 3 – which now features a 12-metre-high mega slide and butterfly garden – hit the scene in 2008. Terminal 4 followed, opening in 2017.
Next up: Changi Jewel, which opened in 2019, giving locals who don’t intend to travel a reason to head to the airport.
Featuring a dramatic donut-shaped exterior framed in steel and glass, the 135,700 square meter space is a multi-use complex that connects three of Changi Airport’s four terminals.
The star attraction here is the 40 meter high HSBC Rain Vortex, which cascades through a huge oculus in the middle of the structure and is considered the tallest indoor waterfall in the world.
There’s also an 11-theater IMAX theater and Shiseido Forest Valley, a four-story garden filled with walking paths, all surrounding the Vortex Waterfall.
So, what’s next for the famous airport? From 2024, officials say Changi will introduce automated immigration screening, allowing passengers to leave the city-state without a passport, using only biometric data.
At the same time, airport officials have already revealed their plans for Terminal 5, which is expected to open to travelers in the mid-2030s.