The New Changi Airport’s Terminal 4
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“Fun, vibrant and positively surprising” are not exactly how most of the travelers would describe an airport terminal. But Changi Airport’s soon-to-be-opened Terminal 4 (T4) manages to be just that and much more.
Out of Town Blog was one of the selected media invited to an exclusive media preview of the launch of Terminal 4 on July 25. As a representative, I got a sneak peek at how T4 is elevating the airport experience for passengers with its boutique design and innovative use of technology. The media preview was held in partnership with Cebu Pacific Air, the first Philippine carrier which will begin operating from T4 later this year.
In traveler’s circles, Changi Airport is already considered to be one of the best passenger air terminals. However, I was blown away by the innovative features and design of the new T4. Here are just some of the features that I Iove about T4 that I think passengers will find most exciting.
Also Read: 15 Fun and Free Things to Do in Singapore
1. FAST Travel
T4 will be the first terminal at Changi Airport to offer end-to-end Fast and Seamless Travel (FAST) for departing passengers. We got to see firsthand how common airport procedures like checking-in, bag drop, and even immigration (for qualified passengers like permanent residents) are being automated in T4.
The terminal makes extensive use of technology, including facial recognition software and automation to give passengers the flexibility of checking in at their own convenience. FAST is expected to yield manpower savings of about 20% in the longer term, once operations have stabilized.
2. Unique and boutique design
Every corner of T4 seems to have been designed for the modern traveler. Those who like architectural elements will have a field day just taking snapshots around the space. T4’s high ceilings give it a sense of space while their interior design boasts of a contemporary design.
While the overall aesthetic is modern, it’s very much inspired by nature and manages to bring the outdoors inside. The symmetrical petal design seen all around T4 is inspired by the orchid petal, which can be seen in various locations, such as on the skylights, marble flooring and carpets.
T4 makes extensive use of natural light and simulates a natural environment of plants and trees. Landscaping covers 2,000 square meters and the terminal is home to 186 large trees. Live orchids are planted throughout the space and even their baggage carousel has a backdrop of vertical garden walls, making the space look more relaxing and easy on the eyes.
3. Local and international art pieces
Another great thing about T4 are the unique art pieces following the theme of travel or aviation that you can spot all around and pose with.
The terminal’s showpiece is a Central Galleria (300m long x 18m wide x 23m high) which separates the public zone from the transit area. This visual-transparent concept provides a clear view from the check-in hall through the transit area and, at some locations, even right up to the boarding gates.
At the center of this is Petalclouds, a unique kinetic sculpture that combines art and technology to create a harmonic, collective choreography. Set to classical music specially composed by BAFTA award-winning composer, Ólafur Arnalds, this mesmerizing art piece is visible from almost everywhere in the terminal.
“Hey Ah Check!” by local sculptor Chong Fah Cheong (known for his iconic bronze sculptures of boys jumping into the Singapore River), depicts a mother and son hailing a trishaw, which passengers can board for photo ops.
The Travelling Family by Swiss artist Kurtz Metzier features whimsical aluminum sculptures of a family in the middle of the departure transit area.
Meanwhile, Les Oiseaux (The Birds) by French artist Cedric Le Borgne features elegant 3D wire birds greeting passengers in the arrival and departure halls.
4. Combining culture & technology
One of my favorite features of T4 is how it manages to showcase Singapore’s local culture to international passengers through technology.
T4 manages to integrate Singapore’s rich tapestry of culture with technology, engaging passengers through immersive LED digital displays hidden behind heritage-themed facades.
At first glance, the centralized security screening area just past immigration looks like a traditional wood carving panel. But it’s actually a 70m x 5m Immersive Wall, which showcases imagery on Singapore’s skyline, ASEAN landmarks, and whimsically animated clips that passengers can watch for a stress-free experience while waiting in line.
A major highlight is the Heritage Zone in the transit area, which gives a glimpse into the rich and colorful Peranakan architecture seen in areas like Katong and Chinatown. The three-story shophouse façade reflect the evolution of architectural styles from the 1880s Baroque design to the 1950s Modern Deco.
I really enjoyed the special performance displayed on the Peranakan façade. A 10m x 6m LED screen transforms two shophouse bays into a digital theater stage, to present a six-minute cultural mini-theatre show, Peranakan Love Story.
5. Retail offerings
T4 also promises to be a shopping and dining haven, with more than 80 retail and F&B outlets featuring popular brands and unique experiential zones. This includes an integrated duty- free zone covering both liquor & tobacco and cosmetics & perfumes products. Shoppers will be able to pay for their purchases at common cashier counters.
The heritage inspired façade will house familiar traditional brands such as Bee Cheng Hiang, Bengawan Solo, Eu Yan Sang, Curry Times and Heavenly Wang. There will also be a wide selection of restaurants and cafes including a Food Emporium with halal options.
Travelers from the Philippines will soon get to experience the innovation and artistry of Changi Airport Terminal 4 with Cebu Pacific. The airline flies to Singapore from Manila, thrice a day, once daily from Clark and Cebu, and twice weekly from Iloilo and Davao.
For more information, visit T4.changiairport.com.
FACTS & FIGURES ON T4:
Terminal Design and Features
- Two-story, 25-metre high building
- Gross floor area: 225,000 sqm (about 27 football fields)
- 300 m long x 18m wide x 23m high Central Galleria
- Petal Motifs
- Departure drop off canopy: 6 sets of 3 = 18
- Ceiling skylights in Departure Check-in Hall & Transit Areas = 67
- More than 300 petal motifs can be found throughout T4.
- Handling capacity of 16 million passengers per annum
- 68-metre Ramp Control Tower
- Nine airlines will operate at T4: the Air Asia Group (four airlines), Cathay Pacific, Cebu Pacific, Korean Air, Spring Airlines and Vietnam Airlines. These airlines collectively operate close to 800 flights a week to over 20 regional destinations and serve an estimated eight million passengers per annum.
Check-in & Security
- Row 1-3, 42 conventional check-in counters
- Row 4-7, 65 automated check-in kiosks, 50 automated bag drop machines, equipped with Facial Recognition System
- 10 pre-board screening lanes.
- Immigration: 26 manual, 18 automated gates.
- Arrival: 44 manual, 16 automated gates.
Total of 46 Automated Boarding Gates (2 per narrow body gate and 3 per wide body gate), equipped with Facial Recognition System.
80 retail and food & beverage (F & B) outlets over 16,000 sqm of space.
30 pairs of toilets located 100m apart.
- 5,400 bags per hour
- 7 arrival belts
- 9 departure racetracks
- 2 odd-size arrival and departure belts
- Early baggage storage with a capacity of 900 bags
- 21 contact stands with aircraft docking guidance systems (17 for narrow body aircraft and 4 for wide-body aircraft)
- 750m of new primary roadway
Artwork at T4
- Spans across 200m of the Central Galleria
- Six clouds consisting of 16 individual petal elements that are each suspended on two winches with four cables.
- Total number of winches = 192, number of cables = 384
- 70 m (length) x 5m (height)
- 16 different immersive content capsules
Installation took 6,000 manhours
- Pixel size: 6mm
- Total pixel count: ~ 8.3 million
Peranakan Love Story screen:
- 10m (length) x 6m (height)
- Installation took 4,000 manhours
Pixel size: 4mm
- Total pixel count: ~2.4million
- 582,000 plants, trees, shrubs
- More than 340 species of plants across the terminal
- The T4 greenwall external façade has over 16,000 plants
- 186 large trees within the terminal; out of which 160 ficus trees form the Boulevard of Trees along the boarding corridor
The tallest tree in T4
- Name: Fragrant Chinese Aralia Tree (Heteropanax fragrans)
- Height: 8m – 10m
- Weight: Approx. 3 tons
- Where: T4 Arrival Hall
Thanks to Cebu Pacific and Changi Airport’s Terminal 4 for this wonderful experience.