A massive expansion of Changi International Airport will take place right next to the airshow site in Singapore. It includes a third runway and a fifth terminal, and will eventually double the hub’s capacity to 135 million passengers per year. The development forms part of a master plan Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced last year.
The wasteland visitors to the show site might have noticed on the right side of the entrance road is land that was reclaimed from the sea 25 years ago. Currently hidden in its middle lies Changi Air Base East (CAB East), a parallel runway and small airbase the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) uses to house an F-16 squadron. By 2020, construction will extend that runway at the 02R end in a southwesterly direction, to become the airport’s third runway. Between it and the current Changi Coast Road (which will close), the new Terminal 5 will emerge by 2025. Almost 40 kilometers of new taxiways will connect the area with the current airport.
Another part of the master plan calls for the closure of Paya Lebar airbase (PLAB). Until Changi opened in 1981, it served as Singapore’s international airport. Since then, it has housed the RSAF’s C-130 squadron and two F-5 squadrons, one of which the air force replaced with F-15s in 2012. However, it is surrounded by housing, a commodity Singapore desperately needs to accommodate its ever-growing population, forecasts for which show a rise to 6.9 million by 2030 from 5.5 million today.