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In the hearts of many Singapore residents and travellers, Changi Airport is so much more than just an airport. It is not only the starting point of an overseas trip, but a place where many memories are made, and a destination for families to visit for the best dining, shopping and activities.
As you walk through Changi Airport, marvelling at the many attractions and pausing to admire the beautiful blooms at the gardens, have you ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes to keep the airport going like clockwork?
Changi Airport Group (CAG) has designed an airport visit programme to share more about the airport’s development and operations, as well as how they have pivoted some of their businesses over the last two years during Covid-19, when overseas travel came to a standstill. The most exciting part of the tour? Visitors will get to go behind-the-scenes and see areas that they would normally not have access to as a typical traveller!
From students studying in aviation-related courses, to educators who want to learn interesting nuggets of facts to share with their pupils, and even organisations looking for a team bonding activity which incorporates learning elements, this tour will appeal to various groups.
Here are five things that you can look forward to, on this behind-the-scenes tour of the world’s most awarded airport.
1. Learn interesting nuggets of information about the world’s most awarded airport
Do you know where commercial flights landed before Changi Airport opened in 1981? Did you know that Terminal 5, slated to open in the mid-2030s, will be as big as all four current Changi Airport terminals combined? At the start of the tour, visitors will get answers to some of these questions and learn how Changi Airport grew from just one terminal in 1981 to where they are now.
For aviation geeks, be prepared to take some notes on the interesting nuggets of information shared about the airport! For example, why gate hold rooms in Terminal 1 are not Gates A and B, but C and D and how the idea of Jewel Changi Airport – the multifaceted lifestyle and entertainment hub right in the heart of the airport – came about.
Covid-19 has impacted Changi Airport in more ways than we could imagine, but the airport community rallied together with an unshaken mission to keep Singapore connected to the rest of the world. From the tour, you will also gain a deeper understanding of some of the challenges faced by the airport during the pandemic, and how different organisations at Changi Airport worked hand-in-hand to deliver the positive Changi Experience that passengers have come to expect of us.
2. Visit the newly reopened southern wing of Terminal 2 and hear all about its refreshed design
If you’ve always awed at the designs all over Changi Airport, you will love visiting the newly reopened Terminal 2 (T2) departure hall. It’s more than just about the aesthetics. Our guides will share more about the design concepts applied in this terminal and how the features and facilities are thoughtfully designed to improve the overall passenger experience.
One example is learning about why the check-in islands are positioned at an angle and not perpendicular to the length of the terminal. After getting a glimpse at the joy of travelling overseas again, visitors will move on and embark on the most exciting portion of the whole visit programme – a bus tour of the airside.
3. Get a peek into the restricted areas and view the airport from a different perspective – at the airside
Entering the airside is a once-in-a-lifetime experience if you are not working at the airport. The air-conditioned departure and arrival halls are where you enjoy your Changi Experience as a passenger. However, as you enter the airside during the tour, you will get a look at what happens behind the scenes.
Upon stepping into the airside via a special entrance which visitors would never know existed, the group will then board a bus to start their tour. During the bus tour, visitors will see various behind-the-scenes areas which are not visible to the typical traveller.
This will help visitors to gain a better understanding of different airport operations functions, as well as what various airside jobs entails. Many visitors have also shared that they gained newfound respect to the 50,000-strong staff that make up the airport community, to keep the air hub running like clockwork.
Visitors will have a glimpse of how planes get turned around for their flight – from seeing planes being refuelled, to inflight meals and luggage getting uploaded into the planes.
4. Discover a whole new world behind airport operations – equipment and technology that keeps the airport running 24/7
Besides observing various types of ground support equipment getting planes ready for their next flight, the tour guides will also share different components of an aircraft parking bay. These are some things you may never have noticed as a passenger on board an aircraft.
Another important area visitors will be able to get a glimpse of during the bus tour will be the baggage handling area. Here, visitors will get to see where the luggage goes after they get dropped off at the departure hall check-in, and how does the luggage reach the belt upon a plane’s arrival at the airport. It is a mammoth task that Changi Airport has been able to continually evolve – from a simple conveyor line to one of the most sophisticated systems found in any airport in the world.
Along the journey, the guide will also share interesting nuggets of information, such as some of the innovations which CAG has been trialling over the last two years, and even anecdotes of some unique job functions, such as CAG’s airside team. Part of the team’s responsibility includes wildlife management, because wildlife, such as birds, may pose potential hazards to planes if left unmanaged.
5. Step foot onto the airport’s fire station grounds for a rare group photo
To wrap up the tour on an exciting note, visitors will be able to set foot on Changi Airport’s Fire Station 1. They will learn how Changi’s Airport Emergency Service (AES) stands ready to respond to any emergencies in the airport.
The guides will also share why Changi Airport needs to maintain its own AES team and what are some of the special training that they need to undergo, to enable them to support airport operations and meet the stringent response time stipulated by the International Civil Aviation Organisation in the event of an aircraft emergency.
At this last stop, visitors will have the rare opportunity to get off the bus and take a group photo on the fire station’s grounds, which has an amazing airside view that is typically only seen by a selected few.
No fun activity ends without a quiz and prizes. Participate in a fun quiz and receive exclusive Changi Airport merchandise as prizes if you emerge top of the group!
If you are tasked with organising the next learning journey or team bonding activity, why not consider signing up for this behind-the-scenes airport tour? Besides the chance to re-ignite your teammates’ wanderlust and learn fun facts about our airport, Changi Airport and Jewel Changi Airport also offer a wide range of options for your team bonding meal. The tours are capped at a maximum group size of 28 visitors, which ensures a good guide-to-visitor ratio, to facilitate interaction. Click here to sign up now!
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