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Changi Airport Terminal 2 airlines are moving to these terminals from 1 May 2020

Most Star Alliance airlines are moving to Terminal 3

Updated 29 April 2020: Changi Airport has published the full list of terminal moves, with most of the previously reported moves still accurate. The only exceptions are those who are supposed to move to T4, of which all of the airlines are currently suspending operations.

Changi Airport made a brief update on their website last night on the move since the announcement to close Terminal 2, although this was quickly removed.

For those who have not been following this development, Singapore Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan announced in Parliament that given the on-going Covid-19 development, Terminal 2 will be shut for 18 months to facilitate the upgrading works from 1 May 2020 through October 2021.

As such, airlines currently operating out of Terminal 2 will move to the other three terminals, which will provide some cost savings and accelerate the Terminal 2 upgrading works by as much as a year.

List of new terminals

The full list of airlines was originally published as follow, but Changi Airport has since updated to list them all as “TBC”:

[Update 29 Apr 2020] Changi Airport has updated the confirmed list of terminal moves, as below.

Air India (AI) – currently suspended4 TBC
Air India Express (IX) – currently suspended4 TBC
Ethiopian Airlines (ET) – currently suspended3
Etihad Airways (EY) 3
Indigo (6E)4 TBC
LOT Polish Airlines (LO) – currently suspended3
Lufthansa (LH)3 TBC
Malaysia Airlines (MH) – currently suspended1
Royal Brunei Airlines (BI)1
Sichuan Airlines (3U)1 TBC
Swiss International Airlines (LX)3 TBC
United Airlines (UA) – currently suspended3

This move seems to make sense, as Malaysia Airlines now belong with its other oneworld partners, including Qantas, Qatar and Japan Airlines. This move will allow a better transfer option with its partners, as well as lounge access for eligible customers.

Terminal 1 now has probably the strongest offering of lounges by a single alliance, with three business class lounges (Qantas, Qatar and British Airways), and one dedicated first class lounge by Qantas.

Qantas first class lounge at Changi Airport Terminal 1

Having said that, given the earlier announcement on a deeper partnership between Singapore Airlines and Malaysia Airlines, the separation of both airlines across different terminals at Changi may be a temporary arrangement.

For the bulk of the Star Alliance airlines moving to Terminal 3, this is also a logical move given that Singapore Airlines is operating out of that terminal. Similar to its arrangements at Terminal 2, passengers travelling on these other Star Alliance airlines will be able to access Singapore Airlines’ SilverKris or Star Alliance Gold lounge, depending on the class of travel or elite status.

Final thoughts

As I’ve mentioned in my previous article, this downturn in passenger numbers may be a silver lining during this coronavirus episode, given that Changi Airport was on its way to hitting the ceiling in handling a good number of passengers comfortably within its four terminals.

While drastic and somewhat tragic for the aviation industry, this hard pause allows Changi to close off one terminal entirely and focus on relooking its operations while it has the space to. Many times in the past, the key challenging with any infrastructure work at Changi Airport is limited by its ability to manage on-going operations.

This allocation of terminals somehow has also cement Terminal 1 as a oneworld fort, while moving all the Star Alliance members to Terminal 3. There are obvious benefits for this, but the flip side of it is that airport resources are usually not optimised, given that not all alliances are equally represented and have equal operational loads at every airport.

Given Changi’s principles of pushing connectivity even across alliances and also wanting to optimise operations for passengers, my guess is that this arrangement most likely will be temporary at best, until things are somehow back to normal in a few years’ time.

Till then, I’ll be flying Malaysia Airlines quite a bit so I can enjoy Qantas’ lounges.

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