The transportation minister of Singapore said Tuesday (16 June) that it would “pause” construction work on its Terminal 5 at Changi Airport for at least two years because of the near total shutdown in international passenger aviation due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Singapore Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan said in an online session with students that the “great uncertainties” facing aviation led to the decision. He added that he was confident the industry will recover but the question of when it will reach pre-COVID-19 levels, if ever, simply remained too large a question to continue with the project for now.
“That’s why we’ve already decided that we will take a pause in the T5 project. Under normal circumstances, if not for COVID-19, we would have to start calling for a major civil engineering tender quite soon but we have decided to take a pause for two years. Let us complete this study of the future of aviation and it is not just the two years because we need… to see how the development of the pandemic globally will be like. It will affect T5 and in terms of timing, minimum we will push it back by two years,” Khaw said.
Terminal 5 was originally slated for completion in the 2030s. Of the four terminals at Changi Airport, only Terminals 1 and 3 remain open, with the number of passengers passing through the hub falling 99.5 percent in April, compared to the same period last year.
Changi has already shut down its newly built Terminal 4 and has shut down Terminal 2, which it had planned to close for renovations but closed it early due to the pandemic.