Changi Airport Soars to 90% Pre-COVID with South Korea Travel Boost

In a significant milestone, Changi Airport experienced a robust rebound in October, with passenger traffic reaching an impressive 90.7% of pre-pandemic levels. Fueling this recovery was the remarkable surge in travel between Singapore and South Korea, which surpassed pre-pandemic figures by an impressive 36%. This growth not only marked the airport’s highest monthly passenger traffic since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic but also underscored South Korea’s status as the fastest-growing market for Changi Airport in 2023.

Changi Airport Group (CAG) reported that the South Korean market has consistently outpaced other top markets, demonstrating a strong recovery trend throughout the year. India followed closely, achieving 102% of pre-pandemic levels, while Australia reached 94%. The month of October saw 5.12 million travelers passing through Changi Airport, slightly below the 5.65 million recorded in October 2019. Additionally, the number of commercial flights in October amounted to 89.8% of the pre-pandemic levels in 2019, totaling around 28,700 flights.

The surge in demand between Singapore and South Korea has been ongoing since January, with monthly passenger traffic consistently exceeding pre-COVID-19 numbers by at least 25%. This upward trajectory is attributed to heightened connectivity between Singapore and South Korean cities, particularly Seoul and Busan. The introduction of low-cost carrier T’way Air’s flights between Singapore and Seoul, alongside Scoot’s increased frequency, has significantly contributed to this growth. Furthermore, the reinstatement of flights between Singapore and Busan by Jeju Air, coupled with increased flight capacity by several airlines, has enhanced accessibility and options for travelers.

As of November, six airlines now operate flights between Singapore and South Korea, compared to five before the pandemic. This increased connectivity, coupled with the injection of flight capacity and services by low-cost carriers, has not only improved accessibility but has also expanded travel options for consumers. Mr. Lim Ching Kiat, CAG’s Executive Vice-President for Air Hub and Cargo Development, highlighted how these developments have particularly benefited younger travelers who are more price-sensitive.