Jetstar objects to Terminal 4 relocation, 'extremely disappointed' with Changi Airport

Terminal 4 is reopening in September 2022 to cope with increasing travel demand.

Matthias Ang | July 23, 2022, 11:25 AM

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Changi Airport will reopen Terminal 4 on Sep. 13.

It has been closed for over two years as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Photo from CAG

Re-opening to help cope with increasing travel demand

Opened in 2017, Terminal 4 is Changi’s newest terminal with 21 contact gates, and a Fast And Seamless Travel (FAST) check-in process.

Photo from CAG

According to a press release by Changi Airport Group (CAG), Terminal 4 has a capacity of 16 million passengers per annum.

Its re-opening will add to Changi Airport’s capacity, in order to meet the increasing demand for air travel, and support airlines’ plans to launch more flights.

Photo from CAG

The next two months will also see CAG carrying out operational readiness trials with the airlines and airport partners to ensure the smooth restart of operations in T4.

Photo from CAG

16 airlines to relocate to Terminal 4

In addition, 16 airlines will relocate to Terminal 4 progressively.

Cathay Pacific and Korean Air will begin flight operations in at Terminal 4 on Sep. 13, followed by AirAsia Group on Sep. 15.

On Sep. 20, Cebu Pacific, Juneyao Air, Jeju Air, Bamboo Airways, and HK Express will begin flights there.

Other airlines such as Vietnam Airlines, VietJet Air and Thai VietJet Air will make the move on Sep. 22, while Jetstar Group will relocate there on Sep. 25, CAG added.

CAG’s executive vice president of airport management, Tan Lye Teck, said the reopening of Terminal 4 will help support the airline partners' growth and increasing operational needs during this period of travel recovery.

"As we gear up to serve more passengers during the peak year-end holiday season, the high degree of automation at Terminal 4 will help us overcome the challenge of a tight labour market. CAG will work closely with our airline and airport partners on trials and system tests over the next two months to ensure that all resources are in place for the smooth passage of passengers. We look forward to welcoming passengers again in Terminal 4."

Jetstar objects to relocation, says it will not move

In a statement released several hours after CAG announced the reopening of Terminal 4, Jetstar Group voiced its objection to the relocation.

Jetstar said it was "extremely disappointed" with CAG deciding to relocate it to Terminal 4 on a unilateral basis, and before any agreement has been reached.

The airline said:

"A joint study was only agreed to be undertaken last week and this announcement completely disregards that agreement and the impact a move would have on our customers, our people, and our operations.

While we remain committed to working with CAG, today’s announcement by the airport ignores our concerns and goes against the spirit of the long-standing partnership we have built over the years."

The airline therefore has no intention of moving, Jetstar said, and has informed CAG of that fact.

Jetstar Asia currently operates out of Terminal 1, with some flights arriving at Terminal 2.

CAG responds

In response to Jetstar's statement, a CAG spokesperson told CNA that it had begun engagement with Jetstar about the relocation as early as 2019.

Discussions started before the pandemic as Changi Airport was experiencing tight capacity during peak hours.

Moving Jetstar to Terminal 4 was the "best solution" to support the growth of all airlines at the airport, while ensuring that passenger experience would not be compromised.

As air travel resumes, CAG said there was an urgency to "rebalance the airport's traffic across its terminals quickly" to meet the expected air traffic demand in the upcoming year-end holiday season.

Additionally, Terminal 4 has more narrow-body boarding gates which are able to serve airlines that have predominantly narrow-body planes in their fleet. This reduces the need for bussing.

Considering that Jetstar currently operates predominately narrow-bodied aircraft, Terminal 4 would be a good fit for the airline, the CAG spokesperson told CNA.

CAG has also accepted Jetstar's suggestion to form a joint taskforce to ensure a smooth transition for Jetstar to operate in Terminal 4.

Top photo from CAG and Jetstar / FB