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Five more airlines to operate at Changi Airport's new T4

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Five more airlines will operate at Changi Airport's new Terminal 4 when it opens in the second half of 2017, airport operator Changi Airport Group (CAG) announced on Thursday.

Five more airlines will operate at Changi Airport's new Terminal 4 when it opens in the second half of 2017, airport operator Changi Airport Group (CAG) announced on Thursday.

Korean Air, Vietnam Airlines, and the AirAsia Group - AirAsia Berhad, Indonesia AirAsia and Thai AirAsia - will join Cathay Pacific in moving their operations from existing terminals to the new hub, whose construction is currently 70 per cent complete, according to CAG.

Cathay Pacific announced its move to T4, which will include lounge facilities, in May 2014.

The six airlines operate about 800 flights per week and collectively served seven million passengers last year; the new terminal will have an annual handling capacity of 16 million passengers.

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CAG expects additional airlines to operate at T4, which sits on the site of the now-demolished Budget Terminal.

The terminal will also see Changi Airport's first use of facial recognition technology for identity verification.

"We have been working closely with our partners in IT and security agencies to look at how we can bring a robust system that ... meets security requirements before we roll it out in T4," Poh Li San, CAG's vice president of the T4 Programme Management Office, said.

This technology, will be introduced to supplement T4's "fast and seamless travel" (FAST) initiatives - aimed at making the passenger experience more efficient.

Other FAST features include self-service check-in kiosks, automated baggage drop and self-boarding.

Operational trials of these systems will begin in 2016 and are expected to run for a full year, Ms Poh said.

In addition to the productivity features, the terminal will also cater to the requirements of the different airlines.

Yam Kum Weng, executive vice president of air hub development at CAG, said the Group's understanding of both airlines and passengers played into the development of the terminal, stating that T4 will not be a solely budget airline terminal.

Ms Poh added: "In T4, while we do have a larger proportion of narrow-body parking bays, we also have quite a number of wide-body bays to cater to the full service carriers that will operate there."

She referred to the design of the terminal as a "win-win-win approach" for passengers, airlines and the airport itself.

Tony Fernandes, CEO of AirAsia Group, said that T4 "meets a lot of (AirAsia's) objectives" in terms of Changi's offered package.

He said that with the terminal's features such as the FAST initiatives, his company could save up to 40 per cent of current costs.

Mr Fernandes declined to comment on the expense of operating his company's airlines in the new terminal, but Mr Yam confirmed that they were similar to the prevailing fees at Terminals 1-3.

As for negative comments made about the terminal's distance from the rest of the airport, made by the CEO of budget airline Scoot in August last year, Mr Yam said that the complimentary bus shuttles connecting T4 to the remaining terminals will operate at same frequency as the Skytrain.

"There is a perceived lack of connectivity," he said, "that I think we have adequately addressed through use of shuttles."

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