It may seem unusual to want to travel to a country just to visit its airport, but in the case of Singapore, Changi Airport is a national attraction that can’t be missed. Conceptualised in 1975, it took six years in total to complete and cost the Singaporean government SGD 1 billion—the largest amount that had been spent on any public project at the time.
After almost five decades of modernisation, Changi has become a juggernaut among world airports. It has also become many a traveller’s favourite layover destination because of the many things to do in Changi Airport. If you’re wondering why, here are six fun facts about Changi that may lead you to look at the world-class airport in a new light. They’re reason enough to get excited about flying to Singapore, booking a Singapore Changi Airport hotel, and experiencing the many delights that Singapore’s top air travel hub has to offer you.
It Has Won Multiple Global Airport Awards
Changi Airport has a world-class reputation for its service, perks, and wealth of amenities. That’s why it’s no surprise that Singapore’s premier airport has clinched several distinctions in its industry over the years. When Changi ranked sixth in Business Traveller UK’s awards for “Best Airport” in 1993, Princess Diana of Wales personally travelled to Singapore to present the award to then-transport secretary Tjong Yik Min.
In recent decades, Changi Airport racked up a number of “Best Airport in the World” distinctions from Skytrax—a whopping eleven times, to be precise. It is only bested by contemporaries like Qatar’s Hamad International Airport and Japan’s Tokyo Haneda Airport.
It Oversees Almost 400,000 Flights Every Year
In 2019, Changi Airport was also one of the 20 busiest airports in the world. The number of flights it oversees every year is close to 400,000. Moreover, its passenger traffic totals over 65 million air travellers from over a hundred global territories.
Millions of travellers who arrive at Changi Airport, either as their final destination or as their layover destination in transit, are often happy to be there. With the wealth of experiences that are possible in Changi and Changi alone, any traveller would be glad to be counted in the airport’s history.
It Was a Pioneer of the Modern-Day Aerobridge
Most airline passengers take the aerobridge—or the enclosed walkway that leads them from the airport terminal building to the inside of the plane—for granted. But prior to the 1950s, passengers would need to climb up shaky (and often frightening) movable stairways to get into their cabins.
Changi was one of the first international airports to adopt the aerobridge, and it did so even before this invention became the industry standard in air transport. This goes to show that even in the realm of basic air transport innovations, Changi Airport was always a forward-thinking and trailblazing institution.
Its Airport Complex Houses the World’s Largest Slide and the World’s Largest Indoor Waterfall
Are there travellers who are young or young at heart in your travel party? If so, they can try the world’s tallest slide within an airport in Changi Airport’s Terminal 3 Arrival Hall. For every same-day receipt worth SGD 10 accumulated from a Changi restaurant or retail establishment, one passenger is eligible for one ride down this 12-metre, four-storey wonder.
A short distance away from the slide, the airport’s Shiseido Forest Valley—located in the Jewel entertainment and retail complex—houses the world’s largest indoor waterfall. Called the HSBC Rain Vortex, it is 40 metres tall or about as tall as seven storeys. The water perfectly complements the natural environment of the Shiseido Forest Valley, which is populated by more than 200 plant and shrub species and more than a thousand trees. At night, it serves as a canopy for thrilling light shows that the general public can enjoy.
There Are More Than 400 Shopping Outlets in the Vicinity of the Airport
For those who look forward to indulging in retail therapy whenever they visit a new airport, Changi will prove to be a shopping mecca. There are more than 400 outlets in the complex, which means a whole lot of choices to shop for duty-free fashion items, cosmetics, fragrances, electronics, confections, liquors, and other items.
In Changi, shopping ‘til you drop will be a real challenge just because you’ll be spoilt for choice. If you’re due to visit Singapore soon, make a generous allowance in your travel budget for a shopping trip (or two, or more) in Changi’s airport complex.
You Can Swim, Watch a Movie, and Visit Theme Parks in the Airport Complex
Lastly, new visitors to Changi will be wowed at the variety of entertainment options in the airport. Between Changi’s four terminals and the Jewel complex, there’s a swimming pool, jacuzzi, shower facilities, a poolside bar, movie theatres, and multiple theme parks for kids, nature enthusiasts, and aviation aficionados.
Your next layover at Changi will go by really quickly if you spend time at any one of these attractions. Soon, you’ll find yourself wanting to return—and perhaps planning your next big getaway to SG.
These are just a few of the things that make up Changi Airport’s exciting history and what makes it such a popular tourist destination. Based on what you’ve read, what are you most excited to discover about the airport when you arrive there in person?