Airport to impose security levy
Singapore Press Holdings Ltd.
Article date: January 10, 2002
Passengers using Changi Airport will have to pay
for the tighter security measures introduced after the terrorist attacks in
the United States.
The levy may take the form of a separate "security charge" or a straight
increase in airport tax. The current departure tax is $15. Measures,
such as more stringent passenger and baggage checks, and new security
systems, mean higher costs for the airport.
The Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS), which runs the airport, is
bearing these extra costs for now, but is deciding how much to pass on to
passengers and in what form.
"We want to be sure that we have them in order to remain one of the safest
airports in the world," said Transport Minister Yeo Cheow Tong when he broke
the news yesterday at the CAAS annual airport reception. He said the
decision would be announced in the next few months.
"We have reviewed what other airports have done, and most of the airports
have totally passed on the additional security costs to passengers. We will
probably do the same thing," said the minister.
Starting Feb 1, US airports will impose a security charge of at least US$5
(S $9.25) or possibly as much as US$10 on passengers. It is believed
Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport will also impose similar charges.
Said Mr Yeo: "I think it is correct that additional costs be passed on to
passengers because it's in their interest for us to have a comprehensive
The airport, he said, would continue to look at what equipment is needed and
buy what is necessary to enhance security here.
Meanwhile, the aftermath of the Sept 11 attacks continues to dampen
passenger and cargo traffic.
Half a million fewer passengers used Changi Airport last year than in 2000.
It handled 28.1 million passengers last year, down 1.8 per cent from the
28.6 million passengers a year earlier. Cargo traffic has been far harder
hit. It fell by 10.7 per cent to 1.5 million tonnes, from 1.68 million
tonnes in 2000.
This is the second time in 20 years that traffic has fallen. The last was in
1998, in the trough of the Asian economic crisis. Then, passenger traffic
fell by 5.45 per cent and cargo traffic went down by 3.9 per cent.
Mr Yeo said that the $1.5-billion Terminal 3 project may be held back by six
months to a year. Designed to handle 20 million passengers annually, it was
meant to open in early 2006.
But the airport will go ahead and upgrade Terminal 2, starting in November.
The $200-million project will revamp the terminal's facade, expand the
transit lounge to create more retail space and modify aircraft-parking gates
to accommodate the larger aircraft that Singapore Airlines plans to buy.
The Changi MRT station is expected to start operating by the end of next
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