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IN a year when the aviation industry faced headwinds, Singapore's Changi Airport saw 54.1 million passengers for 2014 as a whole, inching up 0.7 per cent from 2013, although flight movements dipped 0.7 per cent to 341,390 take-offs and landings.
Meanwhile, cargo volumes were nearly flat at 1.84 million tonnes.
Lee Seow Hiang, chief executive of Changi Airport Group (CAG), said, "2014 was a challenging year for the aviation industry, especially in Southeast Asia. Several unforeseen events depressed travel demand, creating a difficult operating environment for many airlines in the region. CAG responded quickly to the external situation, by introducing the Growth and Assistance Incentive (GAIN) programme to provide temporary cost relief for our airline partners as well as to encourage them to collaborate with us to explore new ideas to stimulate passenger traffic or boost operational efficiency at Changi Airport."
According to CAG, travel to and from Thailand and China continued to show signs of recovery, registering year-on-year increases of 6.6 per cent and 1 per cent respectively in December.
For Thailand, seat capacities and flight frequencies to Bangkok have also been restored to end-2013 levels, before travel demand was hit by political tensions.
Meanwhile, traffic to the South Asia and North-east Asia regions increased 6 per cent and 4 per cent respectively, although European and South-east Asian routes saw weaker performance.
With more than 7.5 million passengers last year, Indonesia remains the airport's top country market, followed by Malaysia, Australia, Thailand and China. The top 10 destinations remained the same with Jakarta, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok and Manila in the top five. Denpasar was the fastest growing route among the top 10, with a strong 15.7 per cent growth year on year.
Mr Lee added: "We are hopeful that 2015 will be a better year for aviation in the region. Travel demand is recovering steadily for markets like Thailand and China. Lower fuel costs will also help to alleviate cost pressures for airlines."