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An Inside Look at Changi Airport's State-of-the-Art New Terminal

Singapore Changi Airport's Terminal 4 aims for efficient passenger handling through automation, while using art and local culture to add a touch of tranquility to your journey. By CHRISTOPHER KUCWAY.

Published on Nov 22, 2017


RICH INTERIOR COLORS and glass walls dominate initial impressions of Changi Airport's new Terminal 4, but take your carry-on a bit further and you'll see that this airport's draw is its self-service. After thanking your taxi driver, in theory the next person you will speak with is the flight attendant directing you to your assigned seat. Check-in kiosks are simple to operate. Facial-recognition technology authenticates passengers at four of the terminal's seven check-in rows, streamlining the security process all the way to the gate. Passengers then collect their own boarding passes and attach their simplified luggage tags before taking their checked bags to a machine that measures, weighs and scans each before it rolls along a floor-level belt to the aircraft. If there is a problem—a battery packed in your luggage—the computer will let you know.

Changi T4
Automated check-in.

Passenger security is also automated in the new terminal, provided you've registered with Singapore's Immigration and Checkpoints Authority ( Facial and thumbprint recognition are in use here with your photo matched against your passport. Immediately after the immigration gates, advanced 3D scanning machines review your carry-on luggage—there's no need to remove anything from your bag—along automated conveyor belts, while body scanners can zoom in on anything suspicious after you've emptied your pockets.

There is a calming side to the terminal. Whimsical sculptures, local façades, and kinetic and multimedia installations all aim to reduce the stress of your dash through the airport. Repeated throughout the facility is a petal theme—it's found in the carpet, the lighting, and in a 200-meter long gilded hanging sculpture, Petalclouds.

Changi T4
The local façades open and close for a glimpse of Singapore's past.

Next up at the terminal that's set to increase Changi's annual passenger capacity to 82 million passengers (up from 66 million), are automatic boarding gates that scan your boarding pass and take your photo to match it against the one taken earlier at the immigration checkpoint.

Air Asia, Cathay Pacific, Korean Air and Vietnam Airlines are among the carriers using the modern facility. For other airlines, the good news is that Changi intends to slowly integrate these improvements in the rest of the airport.


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The colorful Heritage Zone.
  • Petal-shaped, moving sculptures near check-in.
  • Travelling Family in the departure hall.
  • Automated check-in.
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