Singapore Changi Airport Surpasses Pre-Pandemic Passenger Levels in Q1 2024

Changi Airport surpasses pre-pandemic passenger levels in Q1 2024, driven by robust traffic across regions, signaling Singapore's aviation hub status and positive outlook for tourism.

Waqas Arain
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Singapore Changi Airport Surpasses Pre-Pandemic Passenger Levels in Q1 2024

Singapore Changi Airport Surpasses Pre-Pandemic Passenger Levels in Q1 2024

Singapore's Changi Airport handled 16.5 million passengers in the first quarter of 2024, surpassing pre-COVID-19 levels for the first time on a quarterly basis. The airport saw a 0.5% increase in passenger movements compared to the same period in 2019, before the pandemic disrupted global travel.

Changi Airport's strong recovery was driven by robust traffic across most regions, with North America leading the way, exceeding 2019 levels by 25%. The top five markets for the airport were China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Australia, and Thailand. China regained its position as Changi's top market, rising from sixth place last year, propelled by a mutual 30-day visa exemption arrangement between Singapore and China.

Several cities, including Denpasar, Bali, Manila, Taipei, Seoul, and Shanghai, outperformed the first quarter of 2019 by more than 10%. The airport handled 5.43 million, 5.35 million, and 5.73 million passenger movements in January, February, and March 2024, respectively, which were 96%, 104.3%, and 101.7% compared to the same months in 2019.

Why this matters: The strong recovery at Changi Airport reflects the resurgence of international travel and Singapore's position as a global aviation hub. The return of passenger traffic to pre-pandemic levels is a significant milestone for the airport and the country's tourism industry, signaling a positive outlook for the future.

Airfreight throughput at Changi Airport also increased by 14% compared to the same period in 2023, marking the first quarter of year-on-year growth after seven consecutive quarters of decline. The strong performance was attributed to the hosting of music concerts in Singapore and the relaxing of visa requirements with China.

Transport Minister Chee Hong Tat called the recovery a "significant milestone" and stated that the government is working towards exceeding pre-COVID passenger traffic levels for the full year. Changi Airport Group (CAG) CEO Lee Seow Hiang highlighted plans to position Changi Airport for future growth, including the upcoming Terminal 5 and the introduction of document-free travel using biometrics.

Changi Airport was ranked the world's fifth busiest airport by international passenger volume in 2023 and the third busiest international airport by seat capacity in March and April 2024. As of April 1st, 95 airlines operate over 6,800 weekly scheduled flights at Changi Airport, connecting Singapore to 153 cities in 48 countries and territories worldwide.

Key Takeaways

  • Changi Airport's passenger traffic surpassed pre-COVID-19 levels in Q1 2024, up 0.5% vs 2019.
  • North America led the recovery, exceeding 2019 levels by 25%; China regained top market status.
  • Airfreight throughput increased 14% YoY in Q1 2024 after 7 quarters of decline.
  • Changi aims to exceed pre-COVID passenger traffic for the full year 2024.
  • Changi was world's 5th busiest international airport in 2023, with 95 airlines operating 6,800 weekly flights.