Changi Airport Group warns of “daunting” future as battle with Covid-19 has just begun


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Singapore — The Changi Airport Group (CAG), saying in its 2019/2020 annual report that the battle with Covid-19 “has only just begun”, forecasts a “daunting” future for the industry.
On May 10 this year, Changi Airport was voted the world’s best for 2020, making it eight years in a row that it received the accolade from Skytrax, a consultancy based in the United Kingdom that runs an airline and airport review and ranking site.
CAG reports that despite total revenue rising 2.6 per cent, its shareholder profits were down 36 per cent for the period from April 2019 through March 2020 in comparison to the previous fiscal year.
And its woes, as well as those of the whole industry, are far from over.
In two of Changi’s terminals, operations have been suspended completely, with the total number of flights at the lowest they have ever been.
Its fifth terminal, which would have spanned an ambitious 1,080 hectares and was targeted for completion in the next decade, has ceased construction as well, for now at least.
And while results from the latest annual report do not even cover the period starting in April wherein international travel came to a standstill, with Singapore disallowing the entry and transit of short-term visitors from March 23, Changi had already experienced a significant blow, with profits plummeting by 36 per cent to S$435 million, effectively eradicating the gains it had seen the year before
One bright spot for the airport is Jewel Changi, an entertainment and shopping complex that opened last year, that boasts the tallest indoor waterfall in the world.
According to CAG: “Jewel is a new icon for Singapore and has redefined what it means to be an airport.”
The complex has boosted revenues by 2.6 per cent to S$3.1 billion and has helped mitigate losses from the sharp decline in visitors.
However, CAG points out that its recovery is “highly dependent on how countries around the world manage border controls, the relaxation of air travel requirements, and the development of viable medical treatments for the virus”.
The International Air Transport Association has predicted that it may take until 2024 for air traffic to return to its pre-Covid levels.
CAG sounded an optimistic note, however, expressing in its report that it can see the airport through these “darkest” times, in spite of  the present “havoc in the world of aviation”. /TISG
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