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Changi Airport: Singapore's Premier Shopping Mall
Wednesday • October 12, 2005

If Singapore is a shopper's paradise, Changi airport must be its golden gate.With its plush carpeting, smartly dressed sales staff and modern decor, Changi could be mistaken for a chic mall along the Orchard Road shopping belt were it not for the signs pointing to flight boarding gates -- and the jumbo jets parked beyond the glass walls.

Globetrotting shopaholics do not even have to leave the airport premises to buy a staggering range of products, from a diamond ring costing more than 100,000 US dollars to a can of soda worth 70 cents, or an electronic massage chair than can be delivered to your home.

Changi Airport

"Changi is the largest shopping mall in Singapore in terms of sales," Jeffrey Loke, assistant commercial director of the airport's operator, the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS), told AFP. CAAS declined to disclose total annual sales, citing competitive reasons, but said one-third of its revenues of more than 500 million US dollars in the year to March 2005 came from shop rentals and a percentage of their receipts.

More than 30,000 square meters (322,000 square feet) of space in Changi's two terminals -- a third is under construction -- is dedicated to retail and food and beverage concessions. Tired shoppers with time to spare can go for a foot massage, have their nails done or check into the airport hotel for a nap.
In 2004, Changi enjoyed its busiest year ever, handling a record 30.35 million passengers, and 2005 is shaping up as another strong year. In the eight months to August, 21.12 million passengers passed through Changi, up 7.3 percent from a year ago. "About 70 percent of all travelers buy or eat something in Changi," Loke of CAAS said in an interview. Europeans burdened by high taxes at home are the biggest duty-free shoppers in Changi followed closely by Singaporeans and other wealthy Asians.

Including retail and food and beverage earnings, about 60 percent of CAAS' revenues are derived from "non-aeronautical" sources, the reverse of the usual revenue ratio for major airports, which earn most of their money from airline-linked services. More than half of retail sales in Changi are contributed by liquor and perfumes, with watches and tobacco also high on the list of popular items.
In the first six months of 2005, retail sales grew 13.3 percent over the same period in 2004 and 67 percent over the same period in 2003, CAAS said. Following an upgrade launched in 2004, some of the world's most coveted designer brands have opened plush outlets in the airport. They include Prada, Gucci, Bulgari and Hermes, which sells silk windbreakers for 3,750 dollars and lambskin shoulder bags for 3,000 dollars. Over at a liquor concession, a limited-edition bottle of Remy Martin Louis XIII cognac in a special decanter with a diamond embedded in the stopper is priced at more than 8,000 dollars. Five bottles have been sold so far.

Singapore competes with other duty-free havens like Hong Kong in Asia and Dubai in the Middle East. Loke said that among major international airports, Changi enjoys "one of the highest concession revenues per passenger in the world". Singapore is the main hub of the so-called Kangaroo Route -- the long-haul travel zone stretching from Australia and New Zealand to Europe -- and Changi's shops aim for the busy transit passenger market. "These are the people who will have more than two to three hours to spend here or are traveling between Europe and the region," Loke said.

Wealthy people from developing Asian countries are among the most avid shoppers in Changi. One Indonesian woman spent more than 100,000 dollars at the Lee Hwa jewelry shop while waiting for her flight. Shoppers from China and India, Asia's most dynamic economies, are also becoming key customers at Changi. "Indonesians don't buy a lot of items, but they buy the very expensive stuff," said Loke of CAAS. The Japanese used to be known as the most lavish spenders among Asian travelers but Loke said that "somehow their spending is not coming back as strongly as other nationalities".

Singapore Retailers Association executive director Lau Chuen Wei said Changi "is certainly one of the larger up-market shopping malls in Singapore" and it does not hurt city retailers, some of whom have outlets in the airport. "So, no, it does not take away very much from the downtown retailers, and especially not those who cater to the mass market," said Lau. "And yes, retail sales generated at the airport are still a contribution to Singapore's economy, hence a strong component of Singapore's retail industry." With more than eight million visitors entering Singapore every year, tourism accounts for about five percent of the city-state's gross domestic product and is being given high priority in long-term development plans.

Singapore, which has only 4.2 million people, aims to double tourist arrivals to 17 million by 2015, and many of them will surely be spending money in Changi airport.

This story was printed from TODAYonline.
(Please note that Talbot Consultants International Inc. conducted retail planning for Changi.)

Dubai, Singapore and Kuala Lumpur World’s Best Airports In New Customer Satisfaction Survey

17 May 2004 (Geneva) - Dubai, Singapore and Kuala Lumpur finished first, second and third among the 35 airports participating in 2003 in the Global Airport Monitor survey, reflecting passenger satisfaction across a wide range of service attributes, derived from 50,000 interviews at participating airports. In January 2004, the new AETRA customer satisfaction survey was launched by Airports Council International (ACI) and the International Air Transport Association (IATA), superseding the eleven year old Global Airport Monitor.

In the rankings by region, Minneapolis, Copenhagen, Singapore and Dubai were evaluated as best airports in North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific and the Middle East respectively. Rankings by size of airport placed Dubai as first among airports with over 15 million passengers annually.

Speaking on the cooperative effort between IATA and ACI, IATA Director General and CEO Giovanni Bisignani said “Joining forces with ACI to produce AETRA is a great example of the efforts that our industry makes to improve on passenger service levels. I congratulate the airports ranking high in the survey. Their hard work sets challenging benchmarks for other airports to achieve.”

Changi Airport

Singapore Government Press Release 20 Dec 2002

"...Changi Airport has enjoyed another successful year. So far, we have received 21 internationally-recognised accolades, surpassing our record of 20 achieved in 2001. Most impressive of all is that readers of Business Traveller (UK) have voted Changi as the best airport for the 15th consecutive year.

Changi Airport has also been admitted into the Hall of Fame of the Travel Trade Gazette's Travel Awards - the first for any airport. As a Hall of Fame winner, Changi Airport is now in a league of its own and will no longer compete for the annual Travel Awards. Let's aspire to do even better next year. My congratulations to all of you for making this possible and for doing Singapore proud.

In terms of numbers, for the first eleven months of this year, Changi's passenger movements increased by 2.5% to reach 26.2 million passengers. Cargo traffic saw a stronger pick up, with a growth of 8.9% to 1.5 million tonnes, which was what we achieved for the whole of last year.

We project that the full year passenger and cargo traffic will be 28.8 million passenger movements and 1.64 million tonnes respectively. This would bring us to our Year 2000 performance, when we achieved 28.6 million passenger movements and 1.68 million tonnes for cargo. In effect, we have fully recovered from the drop in air traffic caused by 911.

Nevertheless, despite our encouraging achievement, the global aviation industry remains weak. This is largely due to the sluggish world economy. In these difficult and uncertain times, we need to work even more closely with all our partners and stakeholders, who have contributed to our success. This is one of the key reasons why we have set up a three-year S$210 million Air Hub Development Fund (AHDF), which I announced in Parliament last month.

Nevertheless, despite our encouraging achievement, the global aviation industry remains weak. This is largely due to the sluggish world economy. In these difficult and uncertain times, we need to work even more closely with all our partners and stakeholders, who have contributed to our success. This is one of the key reasons why we have set up a three-year S$210 million Air Hub Development Fund (AHDF), which I announced in Parliament last month.

But I must emphasis that what we are doing is not just for the short-term. The AHDF, spread over three years, positions Singapore for the long haul. CAAS will, in collaboration with other government agencies, work hard to encourage more airlines to fly here. And for those which are already flying to Changi, CAAS will help them to grow their businesses here..."

Dubai International Airport & Singapore's Changi International Airport

Dubai and Singapore's Changi are the world's favorite international airports, holding the top spots for the second year in a row, according to a survey released on Tuesday by the global airlines' body IATA. Passengers rated the two just ahead of Hong Kong and Copenhagen's Kastrup, which were in third and fourth place respectively.

Based on interviews late last year with some 70,000 travelers at each of 51 major airports around the globe, the annual survey put only one U.S. hub, Cincinnati, in the top 10 -- which included a total of five in Asia and two in Europe. Dubai, whose terminal was completed in 2000 and saw 16 million people pass through last year, is one of the world's fastest-growing airports. Passengers gave it high marks for eating facilities, shops and ground transport access. Singapore, like Hong Kong currently badly hit by a sharp decline in Asian travel due to the SARS virus, saw 29 million pass through last year and won approval for the courtesy and helpfulness of its staff.

None of the world's 10 busiest passenger airports -- headed by Atlanta with nearly 77 million passengers last year, Chicago's O'Hare, London's Heathrow, and Tokyo's Hanada -- were in the top league for passenger satisfaction.
Source: Robert Evans, Reuters News Service

Top 10 Airports in Overall Passenger Satisfaction (1-5 scale) City Score
1. Dubai 4.35
2. Singapore 4.22
3. Hong Kong 4.12
4. Copenhagen 3.99
5. Kuala Lumpur 3.96
6. Incheon 3.92
7. Athens 3.88
8. Vancouver 3.77
9. Cincinnati 3.76
10. Sydney 3.75



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