Singapore Airport's Terminal 1 is getting a makeover to bring it more in line with the design and space of its youngest sibling, Terminal 3.
Work on the S$500 million (A$387m) upgrade to T1, which is best known to Australian travellers as home to Qantas and British Airways, will be completed by early 2012, although sections are being open as renovations finish. The terminal's unifying theme will be that of a"tropical city".
"It's a 30 year old terminal, the first one built for Changi Airport when we opened in July 1981" says Ivan Tan, Director or Corporate & Marketing Communications for Changi Airport.
While there are limits to what can be done with the height and design of the terminal's roof – especially in the departures area – plenty of work has been done to encourage light to flow inside the terminal.
"The new design has lots of open space and natural light getting in", Tan told Australian Business Traveller. "The corridors have been expanded and widened for easier passenger flow." And of course, being Changi, there's room for more shops.
One thing business travellers won't be seeing is an arrivals lounge, however. Plaza Premium originally operated an arrivals lounge at Terminal 3, Tan says, but there simply wasn't sufficient demand to keep it open.
"Essentially the market was telling us that with very convenient access to downtown Singapore, 25 minutes by taxi, people just wanted to get off the plane, collect their baggage and head to the hotel. It wasn't really needed, compared to other airports where the commute to the hotel might be longer and so you want to break the journey (at the arrivals lounge) to refresh yourself".