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fortunate enough to have a community of dedicated and passion-
ate airport partners and staff who strive to deliver the best possible
‘Changi Experience’ to our passengers.”
The airport has also used interactive technology to stay ahead with
automated feedback systems at different passenger touchpoints,
such as immigration counters and even in toilets. This feedback
informs airport staff of where service is not meeting expectations
and take the appropriate corrective actions.
“More recently, we launched MAX, a virtual assistant who is able
to provide the tech-savvy passengers and visitors of today with
real-time, round-the-clock answers to their queries through various
messaging platforms,” he added.
The opening of the Jewel Changi Airport precinct in April has
attracted a lot of attention and it is expected it will become a tourist
attraction in its own right. Yim said that this will see Changi devel-
op beyond just an airport into a destination attracting visitors from
throughout the region.
“Changi Airport is more than an airport — it is also a one-of-a-
kind lifestyle destination, especially with the launch of Jewel Changi
Airport. Jewel’s unique proposition of world-class shopping and
dining outlets, coupled with interactive attractions, lush
greenery, and aviation facilities like early check-in kiosks
and baggage storage and lounge services, means that our
passengers can have an unforgettable experience before or
after their flights, or even on brief layovers.”
Efficiency is a large part of determining how happy pas-
sengers are with the airport they use and it is not surprising
that Changi continues to invest in the technologies in these areas.
The airport is seeing a strong demand and take-up of self-service
technologies at check-in, bag drop and boarding processes.
“ Terminal 4 is our first terminal to offer these end-to-end self-ser-
vice options, even as we offer self-service check-in and bag-drop
services at other terminals, Yim said. “ We trust that as more travellers
try out and become familiar with these self-service options, the time
savings and added flexibility they enjoy as a result will encourage
them to continue using these self-service facilities in the future.”
The issue of security and immigration screening is a constant
irritant for many travellers and the use of biometric technology is
often seen as the answer to automate these processes.
An innovation at Changi is the process of fully automating the Early
Bag Storage (EBS) facilities, where luggage belonging to passengers
who have checked in early is tagged using radio frequency identifi-
cation (RFID) and stored. At three hours before a flight’s scheduled
departure time, the system identifies and retrieves the luggage meant
to be on the selected flight and sends it to the appropriate terminal.
The architect of the Jewel project, Moshe Safdie, said that for him
as a passenger nothing came close to Changi Airport. “As a very
frequent flyer and knowing all the airports in the region, they are
all trying, unlike the US where I live where we don’t have a single
decent airport and travelling is a nightmare,” he said. “it’s just a de-
humanising humiliation literally because there is just no attention.”
He believes that the culture of competition among Asian airports
is what serves the public well and that Changi’s commitment to
putting passengers first was why it had been voted the world’s best
for seven years in a row.
In terms of regions, the best airports in Asia were Changi, followed
by Haneda, Incheon and Hong Kong while Shanghai Hongqiao was
most preferred in China ahead of Guangzhou. The best airport in
India was at New Delhi while Brisbane took out the award for the
best in the Australia and Pacific region.
A feature of the Skytrax rankings is that beyond naming the Best
Airport it hands out accolades in a range of categories, including
cleanliness, dining, shopping and staff. Despite being a clear overall
winner Changi does not lead the way in any of the individual com-
ponents of the passenger experience, apart from best airport hotel
with the Crowne Plaza Changi.
Overall, airports in Asia do feature well, such as Hong Kong for
the best dining and immigration processing, Narita for the best staff,
Kansai for the best baggage delivery and Haneda voted the cleanest
airport in the world.
On the global stage, the best domestic airport was Haneda, best
regional was Chubu Centrair and the best place to transit was
through Incheon in Seoul. The voters named Heathrow London’s
Terminal 5 as the best airport terminal in the world and the most
improved airport was Guangzhou in China.
While all of the amenities of an airport are important, to most
travellers, leaving and arriving on-time is the main thing that really
matters and drives their satisfaction levels. On-time performance
(OTP) is defined as arriving or departing within 15 minutes of the
scheduled time and across the world’s biggest airports it averages
around 77 percent. The OAG 2019 Punctuality league tracks this
and looking into mega airports that handle more than 30 million
passengers a year it shows that the global leader is Tokyo Haneda,
as it was in the 2018 report with an OTP of 86 percent.
Within Asia, OTP has still some ground to make up if it is to match
the levels of service quality that are making the region’s airports so
attractive. Of the world’s top 20 OTP airports, only seven are from
Asia with Haneda topping the table followed by Changi (3), then by
Bangkok (9), Delhi (13), Beijing (16), Hong Kong (18) and Kuala Lumpur
at 20. Although Kuala Lumpur is ranked in the top 20, its OTP at 70
percent is below the overall average and is closely followed by Hong
Kong where only seven out of 10 flights manage to land or take-off
within 15 minutes of their scheduled time.
◀ The Jewel at Changi is now open and attracting a lot of attention.
Changi Airport is more than an airport — it is also
a one-of-a -kind lifestyle destination...
DENNIS YIM, JEWEL CHANGI AIRPORT
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