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SINGAPORE can double the number of flights handled annually to 700,000 by the end of next decade, said Senior Minister of State for Transport Josephine Teo.
This is when Changi Airport's Terminal 5 is up and running, she said in a media interview at the Singapore Airshow on Thursday morning. The airport, with three terminals and two runways, currently handles about 350,000 flight movements.
Changi Airport's Terminal 4 will be ready by 2019, and a third runway should be operational by early 2020s. The fifth terminal is expected to be up and running by the second half of the 2020s.
"When the Terminal 5 comes into operation, in fact we will be talking about air traffic management that is, I think, even conservatively, at least 50 per cent if not double of what we are handling today," she said.
Mrs Teo also said that though the number of flight movements handled by Singapore currently is fewer than that of Hong Kong's, if one were to include overflights within Singapore's Flight Information Region (FIR), or when a civilian aircraft transits within a flight region, the number of flights handled can balloon farther to about 650,000.
Singapore has been controlling the airspace over some parts of Riau in Indonesia since 1946, after the International Civil Aviation Organization allocated the airspace to Singapore on operational and technical merits.
A recent CNN-Indonesia report cited Indonesian ministers as saying that Singapore had no objections to Indonesia taking over and managing the entire Indonesian airspace. A spokesman for Singapore's Ministry of Foreign Affairs later clarified that Singapore had not made such an agreement.
Mrs Teo said on Thursday it is not unusual for FIRs to cross national boundaries. Indonesia, for example, also manages airspace over Timor-Leste.
"The Flight Information Region is one that concerns safety, it has everything to do with operational and technical capabilities, it is not at all an issue of sovereignty," she said.