Changi Airport News

Monthly passenger levels at Changi drop slightly in August 2020

Changi Airport sees its first monthly passenger decline since airlines began re-adding services in mid-2020

Singapore Changi Airport has released its operating statistics for August 2020, with a small drop in passengers through its terminals to 84,300, a 2% fall compared to July 2020, as overall demand stagnated despite an increase in flight volumes.

Overall with just 2,700 passengers per day this remains a low total, equivalent to a 98.6% reduction compared to August 2019, though it remains a significant improvement on the airport’s worst ever month in May 2020, when only 780 passengers passed through the facility per day.

Cargo tonnage at the airport on the other hand had its best month since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in August, reaching over 71% of normal levels, though like passenger throughput this too now appears to have plateaued to a ‘temporary new normal’.

Total aircraft takeoffs and landings, including both passenger and freight flights, have continued to progressively increase since April 2020, with a 6% monthly increase recorded for August 2020, however these remained nearly 83% lower than usual.

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Passenger totals

Here’s how the number of passengers passing through Changi Airport looked so far in 2020 compared to the same months in 2019.

Changi Airport
Passenger totals
  2019
(x 1,000)
2020
(x 1,000)
Change
January 5,660 5,950 increase 5.2%
February 5,130 3,450 decrease 32.8%
March 5,630 1,650 decrease 70.7%
April 5,580 25.2 decrease 99.5%
May 5,410 24.5 decrease 99.5%
June 5,820 48.2 decrease 99.2%
July 5,910 86.0 decrease 98.5%
August 5,900 84.3 decrease 98.6%
Year to date 45,040 11,318 decrease 74.9%
(click to enlarge)

The year got off to a good start with the airport seeing a 5% passenger increase in January 2020 compared to the same month the previous year. That was commensurate with a 4% increase in passenger traffic seen at the airport during 2019.

Flight cancellations as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak then resulted in a one-third drop in passengers for February 2020, falling further in March 2020 and finally bottoming out at the record lows seen for April and May 2020.

With small upticks in both June and July 2020, a small fall has now been recorded for August 2020, with overall traffic remaining down by 98.6% on normal levels. For the year to August 2020, 75% fewer passengers have used Changi compared to the same period in 2019.

Cargo totals

Here’s how the air freight tonnage at Changi Airport looked so far in 2020 compared to the same months in 2019.

Changi Airport
Cargo totals (tonnes)
  2019
(x 1,000)
2020
(x 1,000)
Change
January 171 157 decrease 8.4%
February 137 147 increase 7.6%
March 185 149 decrease 19.1%
April 156 95.8 decrease 38.8%
May 172 103 decrease 40.0%
June 162 112 decrease 31.0%
July 170 119 decrease 30.1%
August 169 120 decrease 28.9%
Year to date 1,322 1,002 decrease 24.1%

The falloff in cargo volumes at the airport came through a little later than for passenger traffic, as dedicated freighter services remained and airlines began operating cargo-only services with their passenger aircraft.

Indeed Singapore Airlines continued to fly three passenger aircraft with only cargo on board for every passenger flight it operated in July 2020.

This helps the airline to earn some revenue and helps to address the significant shortage in cargo capacity that has been brought about by the almost complete lack of passenger flights, which typically carry 75% of SIA’s annual cargo in the underfloor holds.

August 2020 saw a small increase in cargo at Changi, the fourth consecutive month with additional freight passing through. At 120,000 tonnes this has plateaued somewhat over recent months, however it is by far the best performing sector for the airport at only 29% less than usual levels based on 2019 data.

Takeoffs and landings

Here’s how the number of aircraft takeoff and landings Changi Airport looked so far in 2020 compared to the same months in 2019.

Changi Airport
Takeoffs and landings
  2019
(x 1,000)
2020
(x 1,000)
Change
January 32.7 33.4 increase 2.2%
February 29.9 26.2