Changi Airport Terminals 1 and 3, and Jewel Changi Airport were temporarily closed to the non-flying public from 13 May to 13 June 2021. The month-long closure was used to carry out COVID-19 swab tests for all frontline airport staff, facilitate cleaning and disinfection of premises and facilities, and prepare airport staff for revised operating processes and protocols. Terminals 2 and 4 were already closed prior to the May 2021 temporary closure period.
The airport remained open for air travel during this period. However, access to the terminal buildings was restricted to passengers with air tickets and essential airport workers, and only essential services and selected F&B outlets remained open in these areas.
There was no change to the existing public bus and train services to Changi Airport.
Jewel Changi Airport resumes operation on 14 June 2021. However, the terminals remain closed to non-flying general public until further notice.
The full closure of airport facilities to the non-flying public was implemented in light of a spike in locally transmitted COVID-19 cases in early May 2021 linked to airport workers, some of whom had interacted with COVID-19 patients that arrived from high-risk countries. On 10 May 2021, Basement 2 of Terminal 3 was closed to the public.
The full airport closure (initially two weeks; from 13 to 26 May 2021) was announced abruptly on 12 May 2021, only a day before the two-week closure was set to commence. It also happened to be the eve of Hari Raya Puasa, a public holiday that would have seen more patrons at the airport than usual.
At the time of closure, Singapore was in Phase 3 (Heightened Alert) phase, with social gatherings capped at 5 people, and dining-in was allowed. Stricter measures kicked in from May 16 to June 13 with Phase 2 (Heightened Alert), which saw social gatherings capped to 2 people and dining-in prohibited.
According to the Ministry of Health (MOH), as of 19 May 2021, 95 cases of COVID-19 have been linked to the Changi Airport Terminal 3 cluster. A further 11 cases are linked to the Changi Airport Terminal 1 cluster. This is an evolving situation, and readers are advised to visit the MOH website for the latest updates.
On 21 May 2021, the closure was extended for a further two weeks, ending on 13 June 2021, the end of the Phase 2 (Heightened Alert) period. According to Changi Airport, whilst the disinfection of the premises have been completed, the additional time would airport workers to be briefed and trained on new operating processes and requirements, as well as for enhanced safety protocols to be implemented smoothly.
Access by MRT
Changi Airport MRT station remained open to the public. Train services to Changi Airport were observed to be running as per normal, albeit with lower passenger demand.
A security checkpoint was set up at the entrance to Terminal 3, with access offered only to authorized personnel. The link bridge above the station platform was still publically accessible.
Although passenger operations at Terminal 2 had been suspended since 1 May 2020, access to staff offices and the carpark was still permitted. The basement linkway between Changi Airport MRT station and the bus terminal remained open to the public.
Access by Bus
Bus services to Changi Airport were observed to be running as per normal, albeit with lower passenger demand. Members of the public are still permitted to enter Changi Airport by bus and access the bus stand area for transferring between bus services.
The normal entrances to the terminal were sealed, and direction signs were used to guide visitors and airport staff to the appropriate entrances. Access control was also deployed at each point of entry into the terminal.
As for Terminal 2, which had been suspended since 1 May 2020, access to amenities at Basement 2 was restricted to airport staff members. Only the linkway to Changi Airport MRT station remained open to the public.
There was no observed degradation of bus frequencies, with existing weekend evening special departures starting from Changi Airport continuing to be operated.
Operations at Terminal 4 had been suspended since 16 May 2020, in view of reduced flights during the COVID-19 pandemic. Terminal facilities have been repurposed as a vaccination centre and swabbing facility.
External Links & References:
- Consolidation of Terminal Operations | Singapore Changi Airport [Accessed 20 May 2021]
- Basement 2 of Changi Airport T3 to be closed, 9,000 staff to be swabbed after spate of Covid-19 cases – TODAY (todayonline.com) [Accessed 20 May 2021]
- Covid-19: Jewel Changi Airport to close for 2 weeks, restricted access to all passenger terminal buildings – TODAY (todayonline.com) [Accessed 20 May 2021]
- Changi Airport terminals and Jewel to remain closed to public; additional COVID-19 testing for ‘very high-risk’ arrivals – CNA (channelnewsasia.com) [Accessed 21 May 2021]
- Jewel to reopen but airport terminals to stay closed to public – The Straits Times [Accessed 12 Jun 2021]