Rigorous testing to ensure smooth operations when Changi Airport opens T4

SINGAPORE – Rigorous testing is being done to ensure smooth operations when Changi Airport’s Terminal 4 opens later this year.

T4 will rely heavily on self-service options from check-in to aircraft boarding.

So far, more than 100 trials have been conducted, involving over 2,000 volunteer participants and 1,000 airport staff, Changi Airport Group (CAG) said on Wednesday.

A whole range of systems and processes are being tested, including the passenger self-service options, security screening, goods and services tax refund, baggage reclaim, ground transport, way-finding, as well as passenger and baggage transfers.

The tests, which started about nine months ago, will enter the next phase in the coming months with the participation of airlines scheduled to be operating at the terminal.

Nine airlines will operate at T4 when it opens – the AirAsia group’s four airlines, Cathay Pacific, Cebu Pacific, Korean Air, Spring Airlines and Vietnam Airlines.

Selected commercial flights operated by these airlines will participate in the trial, said CAG.

Together, the airlines will serve an estimated eight million passengers at Changi Airport each year, which is about half the handling capacity of T4.

Test flights will provide valuable opportunities to simulate real flight situations with actual passengers, thereby creating a more realistic operating environment which will enable stakeholders to identify gaps which might not have surfaced earlier, the airport added.

To reduce reliance on manpower and harness new technologies, most passengers at T4 will have access to a full suite of self-service options.

From check-in to bag tagging, as well as bag drop, immigration checks and aircraft boarding, there will be no contact with airport staff, except during security screening.

To ensure that it is the same person moving through the different processes, T4 will feature – for the first time at Changi – a facial recognition system which will capture the passenger’s photo at the different stations.

In some cases, passengers with visa requirements, based on their nationalities and where they are flying to, will be directed to manned counters for their documents to be checked.

Self-service options have been rolled out progressively at Changi since 2015.

Two of the airlines moving to T4, Cathay Pacific and AirAsia, have been providing the services to their passengers at T1 since February and this will help ensure that customers are used to the system when T4 opens.

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