Singapore Changi Airport Taxes Will Nearly Double Over The Next Several Years

Filed Under: Travel

Singapore Changi Airport is generally ranked as the world’s best airport, which is well deserved. The airport is more like a high end shopping mall than an airport, and every aspect of the design is centered around the passenger experience.

The airport is always working on the next big thing. They recently opened the beautiful new Terminal 4, and next year they’re opening The Jewel, which will be a new mall of sorts at the airport, featuring a 40 meter indoor waterfall, a five story garden, 2,500 trees and 100,000 shrubs, and of course tons of shopping, dining, and entertainment.

The airport is even thinking beyond that, with the construction of a third runway as well as a new Terminal 5 in the works. The catch is that Singapore Changi Airport wants their passengers to pay for much of this construction… in advance.

If you are traveling through Singapore Changi Airport, you can expect the fees to soon increase significantly. For example, let’s take a look at a one-way Singapore Airlines ticket from Singapore to London, which has a total of 27.90SGD in passenger service and security fees, plus a 6.10SGD aviation levy.

The Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore will be increasing fees for tickets booked as of July 1, 2018. Specifically:

  • There will be a new airport development levy of 10.80SGD for passengers beginning their trip at Changi Airport
  • There will be a new airport development levy of 3SGD for passengers connecting at Changi Airport
  • The existing 27.90SGD passenger service and security fees will be increased by 2.50SGD per year, starting in July 2018, through April 2024

By 2024, passenger fees for those originating in Singapore will be 62.30SGD (~47.40USD), which is quite significant. All passengers originating in Singapore will be paying the same fees, which is something that Singapore’s parliament had debated. Other airports differentiate fees depending on the distance someone is flying, as well as the class of service they’re traveling in, so that the fee they pay more closely reflects their ticket cost.

Such an increase in fees will have the biggest impact on ultra low cost carriers, given that fees make up a larger percentage of their fares. On top of that, the airport is increasing fees for airlines, including landing fees, parking fees, etc. Jetstar’s CEO has indicated that this would lead to an average increase of 15-20% in the fares originating in Singapore, and would cost them to shift flights around. Even a small increase in average fares can lead to a significant decrease in demand for travel, so I’m curious to see how this all plays out.

These additional fees will help fund the building of the third runway at Changi Airport, as well as Terminal 5. Here’s what we can expect, per the Straits Times:

Slated to be completed around 2030, T5 will eventually be able to handle up to 70 million passengers a year, which is more than T1, T2 and T3 combined.

A third runway being built as part of the Changi East project will allow the airport to handle a growing number of flights when all three runways are operational in the early 2020s – almost 10 years before T5 opens.

He added that the Government will bear a significant portion of the Changi East development costs which is expected to run into tens of billions, while Changi Airport Group will also commit significant resources.

For those traveling on longhaul flights, this will represent a minimal increase in fare. However, for those flying ultra low cost carriers regionally, these fee increases will lead to a significant percentage increase in airfare out of Changi Airport. But I guess this is the only way that this construction can be funded.

I’ll certainly be watching to see what ultra low cost carriers do here…

  1. I think at least some low cost carriers will switch some flights to Johor’s Senai Airport (JHB) over the border in Malaysia.

  2. Fascinating what different people want. Your opening 2 sentences struck me as utterly contradictory:

    “Singapore Changi Airport is generally ranked as the world’s best airport, which is well deserved. The airport is more like a high end shopping mall than an airport…”

    Real luxury isn’t about shopping bling. That’s why BA’s First Wing at LHR takes you straight from check-in to the lounges, avoiding the tawdry shops and the crowds of gawping people distracted by all the lights and shapes and colours…

  3. At least you get something for the money.

    Meanwhile the same flight from LHR to SIN:

    Fare 1: Carrier SQ AAXGBO LON to SIN (rules)
    Passenger type ADT, ONE-WAY-ONLY fare, booking code A
    Covers LHR-SIN (First) £4,077.00
    United Kingdom Passenger Service Charge Departures (UB) £44.91
    United Kingdom Air Passenger Duty APD (GB) £150.00

    That £194.91, or S$356, is a lot more and gets you mediocre Heathrow experience.

  4. To this day I have never figured out why Changi is supposed to be world-best. It’s a bunch of shops that aren’t reasonably priced nor well stocked (how many really need a small Zegna store with 20-50% markup compare to Europe in an airport and why is having one so great?).

    The carpet is ugly, the ceiling height is minimal in T1 and T2 and the stupid security check at the gate means you have to go there from the mediocre lounges earlier than you would with any other airport, just to queue up again. Hardly ‘premium’ feel.

    And now it’s so expensively priced. There’s way better choices in Asia.

  5. @ Peter

    Different taxes have different purposes. UK duty was intended to disincentivise air travel, not to provide a fund to make airports more attractive and thus encourage even more people to fly.

    Though I’d agree with you that LHR is a pretty miserable experience.

  6. @ The nice Paul

    If you fly SQ first/suites (sin-fra-jfk for example)

    You get dropped off at a dedicated checkin area/room. With sofas and personal attention

    Then you walk out of the room, and almost directly into the dedicated immigration area (about 20 steps away)

    Then you walk a few more steps to reach the escalator and the private room(lounge). You do pass by some shops at this point, but the walk is short

  7. I transit through Changi airport on average once every few weeks and I always enjoy the place.
    The shopping is reasonably priced for an airport and I’d go as far say stuff is often slightly cheaper in Changi duty free than what it is in Australia so I don’t mind buying my friends some liquor or cigars there

  8. … Meanwhile visitor queue at Immigration at ORD are two plus hours long today, combined with the Global Entry kiosks not working so they just vouch on good faith that you’re a part of the program.

  9. Singapore airport fees are nothing compared to London Heathrow which are a joke. I think airport shopping was mentioned, my advice is avoid Dubai, talk about expensive, an airport I wouldn’t even rate among my top 10.

  10. Changi is a/the top airport for a myriad of reasons beyond the shopping. Suggesting doesn’t deserve it’s reputation as one of the best is just silly.

    @ lszrspotting I don’t see the appeal of moving to Johor if the intent is to capture passengers originating in Singapore. Nobody wants to cross the border to Malaysia, which can at times take hours, just to save a few dollars on a flight.

  11. Well I enjoyed Singapore airport and it had nothing to do with the shopping (I only bought an overpriced pizza). A quick go on the free games consoles followed by a walk around the sunflower and butterfly gardens then a free blockbuster movie in the cinema was a better experience than I’ve had in most airports.

    The only place I enjoyed more is Pula in Croatia, where I could sunbathe on the roof in the bright sunshine – probably not very practical (or pleasant) in a place like SIN airport.

  12. @ Tom heico

    I don’t understand your point. All that SQ 1st class experience is paid for from the ticket price, not from taxes. Is it better than BA 1st class? Yes, absolutely.

    What does that have to do with airport taxes?

  13. Where else would they get the money? Maybe they can tap into the nearly trillion dollars that they have in reserves (estimated).

    Singapore is tiny but it is enormously wealthy. What’s the point in having a rainy day fund if you’re not going to use it???

  14. @PolarBear – it’s been ages since Seletar saw passenger service, but a new terminal is planned for later this year and FireFly is said to be moving operations to Seletar.

    I can really only see services to SZB/KUL, CGK, BKK and PEN being supported. Perhaps Air Asia can make some flights work.

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