Inside Singapore's Transformed Jewel, Changi Airport
Following four years of construction and nonstop media coverage, Singapore's long-awaited Jewel Changi Airport is officially open.
Featuring a dramatic, doughnut-shaped exterior framed in steel and glass, the 135,700-square-meter space (around 1.46 million square feet) is a multi-use complex designed to connect three of Changi Airport's four terminals.
But above all, the April 17 opening confirms long-held suspicions that yes, the "world's best airport" is now even better and will likely hold onto its top spot on the Skytrax rankings, which it has dominated for the past seven years, for the foreseeable future.
Built at a cost of SG$1.7 billion (about US$1.25 billion) and designed by renowned architect Moshe Safdie, Jewel has 10 stories -- five above ground and five in the basement.
The star attraction is the 40-meter-tall (around 130 feet) HSBC Rain Vortex, which cascades through a huge oculus in the middle of Jewel and is billed as the world's tallest indoor waterfall.
It's a dramatic site that's usually heard before it's seen as passengers exit the retail and dining zones that wrap around the Jewel's outer sections and head toward the center, where they're met with the thunderous sounds of a waterfall that appears to fall from the sky.
According to the airport's data, passenger numbers have almost doubled in 10 years, hence the constant focus on growth.
Planning for a massive Terminal 5 -- which will be about the size of all four terminals put together -- is now underway, with the facility expected to open after 2030.
Beginning later this year, Singapore's Changi Airport Terminal 2 is set to undergo a five-year expansion project that will include an overhaul of the departure check-in hall and transit area.
"With the addition of the new capacity in Terminal 2, that will bring the overall passenger capacity of Changi airport to 90 million passengers per annum, and with Terminal 5, we have current plans to add another 50 million passenger-per-annum capacity," says Goh.
"So, by 2030, if everything goes according to plan, we'll have a total of about 140 million passenger-per-annum capacity at Changi."