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Covid-19: Cathay Pacific moves to Changi Airport Terminal 1 for now

Terminal 4 should be shut by this week

We wrote last week that Changi Airport will be temporarily closing Changi Airport Terminal 2 from May 2020 to October 2021 in view of the on-going Covid-19 situation.

In the same announcement, Singapore Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan did hint at closing Terminal 4 if all airlines adjusted or suspended operations.

The time should be now.

Cathay Pacific announced last week that it will be temporarily relocating to Terminal 1 since last Friday (10 Apr).

Announcement on Cathay Pacific’s website

With its lounge at Terminal 4 temporarily shut, this move does make sense.

Cathay Pacific still operating flights to Singapore

At the time of writing, Cathay Pacific did say that it will be operating three flights a week to Singapore. However, a quick look on its website showed that it was operating on average about two flights a week, with five more flights scheduled for the remainder of April.

From 10 Apr, Cathay Pacific will be using rows 12 & 13 of Terminal 1 for the few flights that it will be operating, until further notice. Eligible customers will be directed to the dnata lounge.

Terminal 4 likely to shut

With Cathay Pacific moving to Terminal 1, Terminal 4 is looking to be certainly shut, at least for a short while.

This makes perfect sense, given that Changi is looking at an all-time low passenger traffic and aircraft movements. The shuttering will allow Changi to consolidate operations to terminals 1 & 3, and save on operating the other terminals which are only seeing sometimes a single flight on any given day.

There are some other moving parts to consider though. With Terminal 2’s closing, some airlines will definitely be asked to move to Terminal 4, including Air India, Air India Express and Indigo, from 1 May. Of which, only Air India is still operating flights, so it remains to be seen whether they will be moving as originally planned, or moving to Terminals 1 or 3.

Final thoughts

We are definitely living in interesting times. While recent history has seen epidemics popping up every couple of years, Covid-19 has practically halted the world’s economy, with some analysts calling this the equivalent of the 1930s Great Depression.

The standstill of international air travel has resulted in the once-glamorous industry to fall off the cliff, with many jobs being put on hold, or even at risk of being lost as countries around the world continue to restrict travel for the sake of public health.

As recent as last year, I could never have imagined that a shining star like Changi Airport – the envy of many other airports in the world – will also see a day where not one, but two terminals suspending operations. This follows almost a decade of record-breaking passenger numbers every year.

Some analysts expect that air travel will remain low for as long as the next two years, and if the Covid-19 situation reports in every country is anything to go by, my bet is that most people are going to stay in their country for a long while.

Who knows what’s going to happen over the next couple of months, or even years?

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