Lonely Planet Writer

World's best airport has got even better with opening of new terminal

Singapore’s Changi International Airport, voted by consumer-aviation website Skytrax as the world’s best airport five years running, has raised the bar once again with the opening of its highly anticipated futuristic Terminal 4The latest technologies have been used to ensure passengers a smooth transition from curbside to cabin. These include automated check-ins, bag drop kiosks, facial and thumbprint biometric recognition immigration gates and automated boarding gates.

Transit seating area in Terminal 4. Image by Changi Airport

The terminal’s interiors fuse state-of-the-art technology and artwork to create a sleek and peaceful environment. A six-section kinetic installation by ART+COM ‘Petalclouds’ dissects the middle of the terminal and changes shape in time to specially commissioned music. The artwork’s petal shape is repeated throughout the terminal, incorporated in furnishing and fixtures from the flooring to the lighting.

Although the terminal is engineered for the future it also gives homage to Singapore’s Peranakan past. The Heritage Zone showcases a number of popular Singaporean brands, including Chinese medicine store Eu Yan Sang and bakery Bengawan Solo, which are tucked into beautifully recreated traditional shophouses.

The Central Galleria at Terminal 4. Photo by Changi Airport

A six-minute theatrical performance film Peranakan Love Story is played on a LED screen that spans two of the shophouses’ facades. Set in the 1930s, the film narrates an unlikely romance between two young next-door neighbours. It was developed in collaboration with Singaporean composer and artist Dick Lee, and boasts a Singaporean cast.   

Visitors can enjoy the immersive wall while they wait. Photo by Changi Airport.

Those wanting to delve deeper into Singapore’s Peranakan culture can visit the Peranakan Gallery, located in the Heritage Zone. Guests can learn about the history of these locally-born communities including architecture, food and fashion. On display are the instantly recognisable Singapore Airlines stewardess uniforms, which are inspired by the traditional Peranakan sarong kebayas. Terminal 4 opened on 31 October 2017 and has the capacity to process 16 million passengers annually. It will be the hub for AirAsia, Cathay Pacific, Cebu Pacific, Korean Air, Spring Airlines and Vietnam Airlines.

By Ria de Jong