Changi’s Terminal 5 – What, How, When?

Even before the opening of Changi Airport’s Terminal 4, all the talk and buzz is centred on Terminal 5. People have been talking about it for so long it already seems like a reality, though the design – or designers for that matter – has yet to be selected and it isn’t yet clear how the multi-billion dollar project will be paid for.

Changi Airport
Changi Airport

One thing is for certain though, in one way, shape or form, the project will go ahead. The expansion of Changi airport is crucial if Singapore is to compete with not only other Asian cities but with those across the world. Seoul’s Incheon Airport is increasing its capacity to 145 million passengers a year (from 80 million), while Dubai Airport has announced it will be expanding its operations to enable it to handle 250 million passengers annually (also up from 80 million). Changi currently has the ability to handle 66 million (a record 58.7 million passed through the airport in 2016). It is expected that when Terminal 5 becomes fully operational – shortly before 2030 if all goes to plan – that figure will be 135 million.


So what will it look like? Currently no one knows, but one thing you can be sure of is that it will be both big, and spectacular. Terminal 5 will very likely be the third largest terminal on the planet (after Dubai and Beijing) and will single-handedly be able to deal with 50 million passengers a year – more than Terminals 1 and 2 combined. It is likely to be one of the biggest buildings on the island, as much as 10 times bigger than VivoCity.


The design for such an iconic building is obviously of the utmost importance. Today, an airport terminal doesn’t just need to function smoothly, it must look incredible inside and out and provide passengers – its customers – with a fantastic experience. In order to ensure that all of those boxes are ticked, the airport invited designs from the world’s most influential and respected designers. Though the shortlist has yet to be revealed, there are three bids that are thought to be in with a very good chance of having their design chosen. The first is local firm DP Architects, who were part of the team behind both the Singapore Flyer and the Esplanade. For this they have teamed up with Grimshaw Architects, a UK company with an impressive background in designing airports such as London Heathrow and St Petersburg’s Pulkovo Airport in Russia.


Another alleged front runner are Safdie Architects, whose owner has the designs for Marina Bay Sands and Jewel Changi Airport on his CV. The final stand out candidate is thought to be a consortium made up of British firms Heatherwick Studio (the brains behind Google’s Mountain View Campus) and AKT II, and the American architecture company KPF.


As well as uncertainty on what it will look like, it is yet to be decided who will actually foot the bill. Terminals 1, 2 & 3 were all paid for by the government and then run by the Changi Airport Group (CAG) when it was set up in 2009. CAG built and funded Terminal 4, but with the cost of Terminal 5 set to dwarf the figures for the existing terminals, it is understood the government is looking into alternative ways to fund the project.





Grandeur Park is one of the latest New Launch Condo that is just 2 MRT stations away from Changi Airport.  Seaside Residences and Thomson Impressions are some other new launches that might be linked to Changi Airport via the Thomson-East Coast Line.


Upcoming new condos in Singapore