Seletar Airport Is Better Than Changi Airport?
We all know that Changi Airport is great. Great enough to win 566 awards and hold the title of the world’s most awarded airport.
So great, that hordes of pubescent teenagers flock to the airport to mug for their exams and tests.
But there’s a new kid in town, and he might be even better than his older brother.
A commercial wing will open in December and cater to all scheduled turboprop flights in Singapore. Currently, only Malaysia’s Firefly operates turboprop flights.
Before you strike us down with your virtual pitchforks, do hear us out.
Here are 7 reasons why we think Seletar Airport might be a gamechanger, or even exceed Changi’s standards if launched properly.
1. Cheaper tickets
Unlike Changi Airport, Seletar is aimed at business aviation and will soon expand to cater to general passengers too, in her new commercial wing.
While travellers pay $47.30 in airport fees at Changi, they will only pay $29 at Seletar. This means that CNY visits to your annoying relative in Subang will be cheaper.
Analysts also predict that the new airport will allow smaller carriers to fly to Singapore from Peninsular Malaysia or Sumatra.
These carriers weren’t able to do so earlier as Changi was too crowded. Increased competition between the carriers may translate to lower prices for consumers.
So you can now see your aunt in Subang more. Good on you.
Changi Airport is huge, and it is only expected to get bigger.
Terminal 5, which is currently being built, is the size of 1 x Tampines or 2.5 Marina Bays.
Imagine walking from The Marina Bay Sands to Suntec City, just to catch a flight. Yeah, we’d give that a pass too.
Think of Seletar Airport as a bus terminal, rather than an airport. With only 2 gates and 4 check-in counters, you probably can’t get lost in Seletar.
If you do get lost, remember that it’s your fault, and only your fault.
3. Avoid the crowds
Seletar Airport is definitely not going to be as crowded as Changi Airport.
With an expected service load of 700,000 passengers yearly — that’s about 1% of Changi’s monumental 62 million passengers (in 2017 alone).
If you hate crying babies, annoying tourists and long security queues, consider flying out of Seletar.
We’d hate to admit this, but it might even be more conducive for your late night mugging sessions, especially if you stay in the North-East.
4. Changi efficiency
Seletar is managed by the Changi Aiport Group (CAG).
As the name very severely implies, these are same people who run Changi Airport.
Hence, expect the same efficiency and cleanliness that we have grown to love in Changi, albeit in a smaller package.
The little mints after immigration might even make an appearance at Seletar too.
5. The heartland airport
Located in Seletar, the Airport is close to the residential estates of Punggol, Sengkang, Ang Mo Kio and Sembawang.
This makes the airport more accessible than Changi, which might in fact be closer to Malaysia than to Orchard.
This, yet again, decreases the overall time spent travelling.
Cue the shouts of joy from us northerners and westies who suffer from a 2-hour train ride to Changi Airport regularly.
6. High speed rail alternative?
In an effort to decrease domestic debt, the new Malaysian government has scrapped the Singapore-KL High Speed Rail (HSR).
Now, thanks to our neighbours across the Causeway, we can’t have “breakfast in Singapore and lunch in Kuala Lumpur”.
Or can we?
Considering that the Airport is so small, easy to navigate and close to many residential neighborhoods, the decrease in “door-to-door” traveling times might be comparable to the High Speed Rail.
Prices are also similar.
In 2015, analysts predicted that commuters in Singapore would be paying between $80-$90 a trip on the HSR.
A quick check on Firefly’s (the only operator at Seletar) website shows that flight tickets between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur cost a comparable $108.
7. If you super high SES
This might interest you, if your life looks something like this:
Crazy Rich Asians, Seletar has you covered.
Along with the new terminal for us, ordinary peasants, the airport is opening a separate wing, called the Business Aviation Centre for those travelling on private and charted jets.
Fortunately for you, now there’s no need to endure “stench of the poor“.
On the flip side
While Seletar seems like a promising experiment, it certainly isn’t meant to replace or compete with King Changi.
Although the management expects this count to rise, so far, only one carrier (Firefly) has committed to flying from Seletar.
Eat till you drop (dead)
Seletar also doesn’t have duty-free stores, and has only one F&B kiosk to serve quick bites.
Changi, on the other hand, has a mighty 350 stores and hundreds of F&B establishments.
Jewel Changi Airport, opening in 2019, promises to increase that count and make Changi a destination for shopping and dining.
The new airport isn’t as well connected as Changi Airport.
With an MRT station, multiple bus connections and a queue of constantly angry taxi drivers, you can pretty much get to where you want to go in Changi.
Seletar, not so much. Literally one bus (103), connects the airport to the rest of the city.
If you want to take a taxi from Seletar, be prepared to pay a $3 airport surcharge as well.
Hopefully, more transport options are added as the new terminal becomes busier.
Was the $80 million investment in the airport worth it? Does Seletar Airport have a future?
Tell us what you think in the comments.
Featured Image from Changi Airport Group.