AirAsia Aviation Group Limited (AAAGL) which includes AirAsia Malaysia (AK), AirAsia Indonesia (QZ), AirAsia Thailand (FD) and AirAsia Philippines (Z2), have moved its Singapore airline operations from Changi Airport Terminal 1 (T1) to Terminal 4 (T4) starting from today (15th September 2022). Changi Airport Group (CAG) reopened T4 this week to meet the increasing passenger demand ahead of the year-end travel season. Opened in 2017, T4 is Changi’s newest terminal boasting a high degree of automation but it was closed for over two years due to the pandemic.
AirAsia is the third airline to resume operations at T4 after Cathay Pacific and Korean Air, and it is currently the largest airline group to operate at the terminal. The first AirAsia flight (AK703) from Kuala Lumpur to Changi T4 arrived at 8:30am this morning on an Airbus A330-300 which has a full 100% load factor.
Before the pandemic, AirAsia says it has contributed 51% of T4’s overall seat capacity and their return will provide opportunities for AirAsia airlines to add more services to meet strong demand and importantly, enable them to return to a full recovery to pre-Covid-19 frequency levels in the near future. According to AirAsia Malaysia CEO Riad Asmat, the airline is currently operating 15 flights daily between Malaysia and Singapore and it aims to increase its frequency to 20 flights by the end of this year and back to pre-covid frequency of 23 flights daily in Q1 2023.
Capital A CEO Tony Fernandes said AirAsia is excited to be back at T4 and Singapore is AirAsia’s third-largest hub. He said the airline started out with just two daily flights in 2008 and gradually increased to 281 weekly flights pre-pandemic to meet huge demand for affordable travel in the region. He said, “We are proud to have contributed to the industry’s growth and to have played a pivotal role in making the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore route one of the busiest in the world.”
“Currently, we are operating 168 flights weekly to 12 destinations across Asean which is about 60% of our pre-Covid-19 flying. By the end of the year, I’m hopeful we will get to nearly 100% with more flights and the use of more, larger A330 widebody aircraft,” he added.
Changi T4 offers optimum efficiency for low cost carriers
Changi T4 is described as a fully-automated terminal with a capacity of supporting 16 million passengers per annum. According to Changi, despite having just one-third the size of T3, the new terminal is able to handle two-thirds of T3’s annual capacity (22 million passengers). Utilising digital and biometrics technologies, most of the airport touchpoints are using self-service kiosks including self-service check-in, self-service baggage drop, automated immigration gate and boarding. Despite its smaller footprint, the terminal has used clever designs to level up the airport experience with kerb-less entrance, low loading height for luggage drop and generous use of high-ceilings and glass windows.
Tony Fernandes said “Returning to this state-of-the-art fully automated terminal is a bit like coming home as we actively participated in the consultation and sharing of ideas in the design and functionality of T4. The digitalisation of passengers’ airport experience is now more important than ever, which is very much in sync with our operations and model, supporting our focus on innovation and efficiency.”
AAAGL Group CEO Bo Lingam commented, “As the first terminal at Changi Airport with an end-to-end Fast and Seamless Travel (FAST) system, the improved efficiencies align perfectly with our quest to maintain the lowest cost structure and deliver on our vision of contactless and seamless travel. It also means that we can pass the savings to our guests and generate more traffic through Changi.”
AirAsia didn’t disclose how much exactly the airline can save by moving to T4 but they shared that it is quite substantial in the operational side. A traditional airport require a lot of manpower to move people and bags around. By having a simpler airport designed with low cost in mind, airlines will require less people which translates to greater cost efficiency
AirAsia 3-day Flash Sale
In conjunction with AirAsia’s return to Changi T4, the low cost carrier is running a 3-day flash sale from 15th to 17th September 2022. Flights from Singapore to destinations including as Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Miri and Langkawi are offered from SGD 1 (about RM3.22), while fly-thru flights via Kuala Lumpur or Bangkok to more destinations including Terengganu, Nha Trang, Chiang Mai and Tiruchirappali are going from SGD 38 (about RM122.50). The travel period for this sale is from 16th September 2022 to 28th October 2023.