With all 200,000 tickets to the T4 Open House (7-20 August) snapped up, it’s obvious everyone’s eager to set their sights on the new Changi Airport Terminal 4. We look at some fascinating numerical facts on neat features that families will love checking out, whether or not they’re actually checking in.
Built on the site of the old Budget Terminal, the brand new Changi Airport Terminal 4 is a 25-metre-high building spanning 225,000 square metres. That’s equal to about 27 football pitches! The two-storey terminal took three years to complete and was built at a cost of $985 million! It sounds like a lot, but with such state-of-the-art features both in terms of function and aesthetics, it’s definitely money well spent!
300m Long, 18m Wide, 23m High
The second you step through the glass doors and enter the building, you’ll notice how open and vibrant it all feels. T4’s visual-transparent concept means that there is clear visibility from the check-in hall all the way through to the boarding gates. In between, separating the public from the transit areas, is the terminal’s showpiece – the breathtaking Central Galleria.
6 Clouds, 96 Petals, 192 Winches, 384 Cables
From the same people behind the Kinetic Rain sculpture at Terminal 1 comes Petalclouds, a brand-new kinetic installation spanning 200m across the Central Galleria. Each of the six clouds consists of 16 petal elements. Each 40kg petal is suspended on two winches (the motors that control its graceful movement) and animated via four cables. Petalclouds leaves children and adults alike mesmerised by its continuous hypnotising interplay. Which is a good thing that it’s visible (and audible – yes, it’s accompanied by specially composed music) from almost anywhere you are in T4, right?
Hey, Ah Chek!, Les Oiseaux, Travelling Family
3 Charming Sculptures
Eye-catching travel-inspired sculptures are scattered through T4. At one end of the Departure Check-in Hall, you’ll see local Cultural Medallion winner, Chong Fah Cheong’s creation. Hey, Ah Chek! depicts a mother and son in the 1950s, hailing a trishaw after a fruitful trip to the market. You may have seen the artist’s other works around Singapore, most notably the one in front of The Fullerton Hotel Singapore of five boys jumping into the Singapore River.
Greeting passengers in both Arrival and Departure Halls are three enchanting larger-than-life bird sculptures. Called Les Oiseaux or The Birds by French artist, Cedric Le Borgne, they are made of stainless steel wire and each is unique. Creating a vertical link between both levels, one is perched on the ground, while the others are soaring in mid-air.
Credit: Changi Airport Group
In 2009, Swiss artist Kurt Metzler travelled through Changi Airport with his family, and was reminded of a scene he had seen in an almost-empty New York airport some years back. Thus inspired, he created a series of children and adults that appear frozen in time as they embark on adventure. Only passengers are privy to Travelling Family, as the set of sculptures is located in the Departure Transit area.
340 Species, 582,000 Plants
With lots of glass walls and skylights, T4 is bathed in natural daylight. Which makes for happy nature and happier nature lovers. For starters, the green-wall external facade features over 16,000 plants. The aptly named Boulevard of Trees (above) along the boarding corridor is made up of 160 Ficus trees. The crowning glory, however, is a Fragrant Chinese Aralia tree in the Arrival Hall. It measures a whopping 3 tons in weight and 8m in height. With 2,000sqm of landscaped space, T4 boasts more plants than T1, T2 and T3 combined!
About 8.3 Million Pixels
Typically the most stressful (and for kids, boring) part of the boarding process is going through security screening after getting through immigration. T4 took this into account when designing its centralised security screening area. With 50 minutes of captivating audio-visual content showcased on the panoramic wall in front of waiting passengers, it’s so full of unexpected surprises you may even forget why you were there. We heard that the 70m by 5m multimedia feature took 6,000 man-hours to install!
From 1880s to 1950s
Located in the transit area, the Heritage Zone is a multi-sensory journey into Singapore’s distant past. Featuring a row of replica shophouses such as those you see in Katong and Chinatown, it hides another surprise: two of the ‘shophouses’ are actually an LED screen! Sit down and enjoy a six-minute digital theatre performance called Peranakan Love Story. It’s composed by Dick Lee and stars local thespians including Adrian Pang and Benjamin Kheng.
The little ones will love the play area that’s peppered with plastic puppy sculpture chairs too. Still, the part we like best about the Heritage Zone is that the ‘shops’ below will actually be tenanted by local F&B brands like Bee Cheng Hiang and Old Chang Kee. Sights, sounds, smells and tastes!
F&B and Retail
Over 80 Outlets, 16,000sqm
Apart from the heritage-themed F&B outlets at the Heritage Zone, there are plenty of other food choices both in the public and transit areas. These include London Fat Duck, Old Street Bak Kut Teh, Paris Baguette, Starbucks and the universal kid favourite, McDonald’s. In addition, there are two food courts, namely the International Food Hall (transit) and Food Emporium (public).
The transit area offers a duty-free zone that integrates both Liquor & Tobacco with Cosmetics & Perfumes. A first for Changi Airport, this means that you can pay for all your purchases at one go. Other retail brands include Avenue Kids, Adidas Homecourt and the first WH Smith bookstore at Changi Airport. The Cosmetics & Perfumes duty-free store is also available in the public area.
The Nitty Gritties
30 Pairs of Toilets++
Anyone who has travelled with kids knows that finding a toilet in a huge airport terminal can be a nightmare. At T4, parents have no such worries. You’ll be able to find a toilet within 100m from the last one. Psst! Visit the toilets located within the Heritage Zone – they are beautifully fitted out in a colonial-style design.
Outside the toilets are cosy nursing and baby changing rooms (above). There are also drinking fountains and hot water dispensers. This means that filling water bottles or making up formula milk is a cinch!
Fast and Seamless Travel (FAST)
65 Check-In Kiosks, 50 Bag Drops, 46 Boarding Gates, All Automated
Of course, we can’t talk about an airport terminal without mentioning its departure processes. T4 is the first terminal at Changi Airport to offer self-service options at each stage: check-in, bag drop, immigration and boarding. Advanced facial recognition technology is integrated in the FAST process, so staff aren’t required to authenticate passengers’ identities manually. The bag drop machines are smart too – they can tell the difference between a mischievous child and an actual suitcase!
However, parents, do take note. The facial recognition system requires the user to be at least 1.2m tall, and children below 6 years of age cannot use the automated immigration gates. This is because ICA has yet to have their fingerprints on record for matching against the biometric scans. Don’t worry, simply approach the conventional immigration counters instead.
16 Million Passengers
T4 may be only half the size of T3, but thanks to brilliant design and planning, it is capable of facilitating 16 million passenger movements per year. In case you were wondering, nine regional airlines will operate at T4 when it opens (launch date has yet to be confirmed). They are Cathay Pacific, Cebu Pacific, Korean Air, Spring Airlines, Vietnam Airlines and four airlines from the Air Asia Group. Love watching planes take off and land? Head to the Viewing Gallery on Level 2M in the public area, next to the Food Emporium.
385 Petal Motifs
Credit: Changi Airport Group
If you haven’t figured it out yet, the unique orchid petal motif is scattered all over T4. Look up when you first arrive – there are six sets of three petals incorporated into the Departure Hall drop-off canopy. Look down and you’ll find it all over the carpets and marble flooring. Even the dustbins are petal-shaped too. To keep the kids busy, ask them to count the number of petal-shaped skylights in the terminal’s ceiling. The answer’s 67!
Naturally, you can’t have a fancy, state-of-the-art airport terminal without keeping it spotless. The solution: an extra smart team of ‘cleaners’ rolling around. They may quite possibly be our favourite feature of Changi Airport Terminal 4, and we’re sure the kids will agree!