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Changi Airport sets out vision for passport-less travel in post-Covid digital push

The Covid pandemic is driving digitisation at Singapore’s Changi Airport which has set out a vision to offer travellers passport-free travel.

Speaking at this week’s ITB Asia trade show, Lim Ching Kiat, executive vice president air hub and cargo development, said the airport wants to enhance the passenger experience.

He said the first key lesson of the experience of the pandemic was a “stronger drive to go digital”.

Although this started pre-pandemic the crisis accelerated it and “pushed the need to do this even more,” Kiat added.

Following Covid Changi is automating more of its functions, both in the front end and back end, because this is essential to ensure the long term sustainability of the business.

A lack of human resources is making automation and investment in facilities like automated vehicles and robots more essential to make the business more “scalable”.

Kiat said non-aeronautical spending by passengers accounts for over half of the airport’s income so a new e-commerce platform called ishopchangi.com has been developed.

The airport is also investing in mor self-service systems like for check-in. “The vision is passport-less travel,” said Kiat.

“You won’t have to carry your passport. You can go all the way to the gate without having any contact with a person.”

The Covid pandemic also have Changi the opportunity to entirely shut down Terminal 2 to carry out a full refurbishment.

With the post-pandemic recovery now in full swing following the re-opening of China in February, Changi has been fully re-opened from this week.

The airport has also embarked on a Terminal 5 construction project which will see a doubling of its area including the new third runway.

The new terminal is expected to open in the 2030s and, although the third runway is already operational work is ongoing to extend taxiways.

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