Singapore

Jewel Changi Airport opens doors to first public visitors

About 500,000 to preview Changi Airport's new 10-storey complex over six days

Jewel Changi Airport, the $1.7 billion investment to secure Singapore's premier air hub position, welcomed its first public visitors yesterday.

First announced by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in his National Day Rally speech in 2013, it took four years to transform an open-air carpark into a 10-storey complex with shops, leisure attractions and facilities for travellers and visitors.

Over six days, from 1pm yesterday to 10pm on April 16, about 500,000 people who had signed up for free preview tickets are expected to visit.

When the 135,700 sq m Jewel, with more than 280 shops and restaurants, opens its doors to all from April 17, travellers will be able to access an early check-in lounge serving passengers of 26 airlines, including Singapore Airlines, SilkAir and Scoot. This covers 60 per cent of all departing flights.

Located next to Terminal 1, Jewel is connected to Terminal 2 and Terminal 3 via air-conditioned travellators, and there will also be facilities for all travellers to store their luggage round the clock.

About a third of Changi's 65.6 million passengers last year were on transit flights, and Jewel will offer them new opportunities to dine, shop and entertain themselves, apart from attracting local visitors.

DEMAND

With the demand for air travel in Asia expected to grow strongly in the coming decades and competition increasing among airports, Jewel is a key part of Changi's strategy to improve the airport experience and grow traffic, said Changi Airport Group's managing director for airport operations management Jayson Goh.

He told The Straits Times: "If you are flying through Asia and looking to make a stopover, you can choose from several airports.

"We want to make sure Changi Airport continues to provide the capacity, attractions and amenities to cater for this growth."

Hong Kong International Airport, for example, is developing a 25ha Skycity mega-integrated development - set to be completed in phases between 2023 to 2027.

Jewel's highlights include a 40m-tall indoor waterfall and a five-storey garden with 2,500 trees and 100,000 shrubs from countries including Australia, China, Malaysia, Spain, Thailand and the US.

Those entering the complex from the main drop-off point and the linkages from T1, T2 and T3 will be greeted with themed gateway gardens.

A five-storey forest valley will allow visitors to shop and dine amid an indoor forest.

There are two cobblestone walking trails, each about 160m long, with cascading waterfalls and mist clouds along the way.

One of the two main gardens in the complex is Canopy Park. Located at Jewel's top level, the park features themed gardens, such as topiary and petal gardens, and dining outlets.

Shops and outlets include famous New York burger chain Shake Shack and American fast-food chain A&W.

Jewel - a joint venture between CAG and CapitaLand - will also offer play attractions from June 10, including a 50m-long suspended bridge with a glass flooring that will allow visitors to look down at the greenery below, a 250m-long bouncing net, mazes and slides.

It will also host the first Pokemon Centre outside of Japan.

Those flying through Singapore will have to exit the transit area to visit Jewel and clear immigration again before their next flight.

Jewel will also house the first Yotelair in Asia, with 130 cabins that can be booked for short daytime layovers or overnight stays.

Jewel is designed by a consortium led by Safdie Architects, helmed by world-renowned architect Moshe Safdie, who also designed Marina Bay Sands.

FOR MORE, READ THE STRAITS TIMES TODAY

TOURISM & TRAVEL