Singapore on Tuesday said it would temporarily suspend the aviation operations at Changi Airport's Terminal 4 due to the reduced number of flights triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The decision came weeks after Singapore's aviation operator Changi Airport Group (CAG) had decided to shut the operations for the airport's Terminal 2 to cut costs during the coronavirus pandemic. Airlines currently based in T4 will operate out of Terminals 1 (T1) or 3 (T3) instead, a statement from CAG said.
The timing of resuming operations at T4 will depend on when air travel demand picks up and on the requirements of airlines seeking to re-launch flights at Changi Airport, CAG said. Singapore reported 884 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday, taking the total number to 24,671 with 21 deaths so far.
Even as terminal operations are scaled-down during this period of Circuit Breaker to control the spread of coronavirus here, CAG said it would continue to work closely with its airline and airport partners and stands ready to restart operations at T4 as soon as a sufficient number of flights return to the terminal.
"These are trying times for aviation and the Changi community. Great uncertainties remain but we remain optimistic on eventual aviation recovery," Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan said in a Facebook post on T4's closure.
"Meanwhile, Changi continues to play its part, bringing essential supplies to Singapore and mounting repatriation flights. And finalising detailed plans to protect the crew and air passengers, when people start to fly again," he added.
Senior Minister of State for Transport Lam Pin Min assured that Singapore's air hub still stands on strong foundations in spite of the difficult times, noting that the airport has just been named the world's best airport for the eighth consecutive year.
Terminal 4 is the newest terminal at the airport, having opened in October 2017. It was conceptualised in 2011 to boost Changi Airport's terminal capacity ahead of the completion of the Changi East project, which is expected to be completed only in the 2030s.
On the airside, several finger piers in T1 and T3, where planes park around, will not be used for flights until demand returns, Channel News Asia reported.
In March, passenger traffic fell sharply at Changi Airport to 1.65 million, down from 5.63 million in March 2019, according to CAG. March aircraft landings and takeoffs were down by 49.9 per cent to 16,200 from 32,400 in March last year.