Why Changi Airport's T4 is set to become Singapore's most entertaining and stress-free terminal yet

Nurul Azliah
Senior Lifestyle Reporter
The 70m “Immersive Wall” located at the centralised security screening area just past the immigration. (Photo: Changi Airport Group)

One of the best airports in the world is set to raise the bar yet again with its latest terminal set to open later this year. 

Changi Airport’s Terminal 4, located at the the Budget terminal’s old spot, boasts innovative technologies, multi-sensory artworks and entertaining features, an impressive feat for a space that is only half the size of Terminal 3. Terminal 4 consist of two storeys, covering a gross floor area of about 27 football pitches.

“T4 was conceived with the vision to rethink travel, push boundaries and break new ground,” said Poh Li San, Changi Airport Group’s (CAG) vice-president of the T4 programme management office. “Through innovative concepts of operation and terminal design, we sought to address our capacity needs as well as improve efficiency and manpower productivity.”

The greenwall on the facade of Changi Airport Terminal 4 consists of over 16,000 plants. (Photo: Changi Airport Group)

Fast and Seamless Travel (FAST) feature

The terminal prides on its FAST feature that even allows passengers to check-in on their own accord without having to wait for the counters to open. This is done with the use of technologies such as self-service check-in counters and bag drop machines that offer a fully automated departure process.

Currently, only passengers on board Cathay Pacific or Air Asia are allowed to enjoy the FAST check-in process, which also utilises facial recognition technology to authenticate a passenger’s identity. Other airlines that will use the terminal are Cebu Pacific, Korean Air, Spring Airlines and Vietnam Airlines. Conventional check-in counters are still available.

Changi Airport’s Terminal 4, which is set to accommodate about 16 million passenger movements per year, has also been furnished with some of visual installations that not only entertain but calm passengers as well. 

Changi Airport Terminal 4 boasts end-to-end Fast and Seamless Travel (FAST) with 65 automated check-in kiosks and 50 automated bag drop machines equipped with Facial Recognition System. (Photo: Changi Airport Group)

Visual installations

Among them is the terminal’s resident art installation called the “Petalcloud”, which consists of six kinetic installations located along the Central Galleria, a space dividing the transit and public area.

Each installation, made of 16 petal elements suspended on two winches with four cables, moves elegantly along to classical music by Icelandic composer Olafur Arnalds in a choreographed sequence to form circular and wave shapes, among others. 

At the departure hall, passengers who have successfully passed the immigration check will be greeted by a 70m-long LED screen showcasing some of Singapore’s iconic places, such as The Esplanade. These visuals are deliberately played in slow-motion to keep passengers calm and hopefully less anxious about their flights. 

Besides this there are also other sculptures peppered through the terminal, including stainless steel sculpture Les Oiseaux (The Birds) by French artist Cedric Le Borgne.

Resident installation “Petalclouds” is located along the Central Galleria, which divides the public and transit area. (Photo: Changi Airport Group)

Heritage Zone

Terminal 4 also celebrates Singaporean culture through its much talked about Heritage Zone. Found at the end of the departure transit, passengers will find a wall covered with shophouse facades showing the evolution of architecture in the country from the 1880s to the 1950s. 

Within the facades is another LED screen from which passengers can watch a six-minute show called “Peranakan Love Story”, written and directed by Singaporean singer-songwriter Dick Lee, who began conceptualising the show two years ago. 

“My starting point was the most famous image of Peranakan culture is a wedding and the wedding procession is something that is very beautiful it is very uniquely Peranakan,” said Lee. “So I was very sure that we had to have a love story because it had to end in a wedding.”

The show, which stars local acts Benjamin Kheng, Adrian Pang, Koh Chieng Mun and Amy Cheng, features Lee’s song “Bunga Sayang”, written for his 1994 play called “Kampung Amber”. 

Changi Airport celebrates Singaporean culture at the Heritage Zone, where passengers will find iconic shophouse facades that represent the evolution of architecture in Singapore from the 1880s to the 1950s. (Photo: Changi Airport Group)

Peranakan Gallery

There will also be a Peranakan Gallery on the mezzanine level for passengers to learn more about Peranakan culture. In collaboration with the National Heritage Board, the gallery will showcase artefacts such as Peranakan clothing and furniture as well as a dollhouse to show the typical interiors of a Peranakan home.

Even the toilets at the Heritage Zone are designed in British colonial-style to add to the corner’s nostalgic theme.

The toilets in the heritage zone is the only one out of 30 pairs of toilets in the terminal designed with a British-colonial theme. (Photo: Changi Airport Group)

What to eat

Passengers can also have a taste of Singaporean foods at the Heritage Zone from local F&B brands Heavenly Wang, Bengawan Solo, Curry Times, Eu Yan Sang and Bee Cheng Hiang. There’s a total of 80 stores and restaurants covering 16,000 sq m in the terminal.

Other F&B brands to look out for at the transit area, which are not available at other Changi Airport terminals, include Chinese restaurant Treasures (Yi Dian Xin) by Imperial Treasure and Tiger’s Den, a bar by local brewery Tiger Beer. 

Meanwhile, the F&B outlets exclusive to Terminal 4 that are available for the public are Andes by Astons, London Fat Duck, Food Emporium, Ma Mum and Sushi Goshin. 

Take a tour of Changi Airport Terminal 4:

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