If you thought the world’s best airport would stop with 2019’s jaw-dropping Jewel attraction, think again.
It’s all artificial – the waterfall, the sky, the moon… all of it – but the remarkable digital attractions are unquestionably impressive nonetheless.
Singapore’s Changi Airport, recently crowned the world’s best airport in the 2023 Skytrax Airport Awards, has unveiled its fully renovated Terminal 2 after a remarkable 3.5-year expansion project. The expansion has added approximately 21,000 square metres to the original building, introducing enhanced infrastructure, advanced systems, and a more extensive array of shopping and dining options for travellers.
Nature takes centre stage in the refreshed T2, with the showstopper being a breathtaking 14-metre-high digital waterfall display known as “The Wonderfall.” Nestled within a vertical garden, this captivating installation dominates the departure hall, where its ‘waters’ cascade over megalithic boulders, creating a mesmerizing and impressive spectacle. Within The Wonderfall lies another delightful surprise: “Rhythms of Nature,” an abstract ballet of human design and Mother Nature’s harmonious dance, guided by an original composition from neo-classical pianist-composer, Jean-Michel Blais.
The nature-inspired theme extends to the departure transit area, where passengers can revel in the Dreamscape Garden, complete with an assortment of plants brought to life by a “digital sky” that changes colors with the time of day.
This rejuvenated terminal aims to enhance the passenger experience, offering a modern and nature-inspired environment paired with immersive digital experiences, innovative technology, and transformative retail and dining concepts.
Vintage travel enthusiasts will appreciate Flap Pix, an art installation inspired by the classic mechanical split-flap flight information boards once ubiquitous in airports.
Among the new retail and dining offerings, Lotte Duty Free Wine & Spirits, spanning two stories, boasts a robot bartender and a 30-metre LED ring that evokes the moon reflected in a lake. The upper level, the Forest of Li Bai, is a luxurious lounge offering 18 varieties of whisky beneath an LED ceiling. Here, visitors can also utilize a smart selfie mirror to snap photos with famous K-pop artists.
In terms of dining, travellers can savour the latest additions, such as Gourmet Garden, which provides airport views and an array of Singaporean flavors, including Satay Club by Harry’s and Wee Nam Kee Chicken Rice.
This extensive expansion, which began in January 2020, has increased Changi’s passenger capacity by 5 million, raising its total handling capacity to 95 million passengers annually. According to published information, 16 airlines operate out of Terminal 2, connecting Singapore to 40 cities around the world.
A HISTORY OF INNOVATION
Changi Airport’s remarkable journey to being one of the world’s best airports commenced in 1981 when it replaced the single-runway Paya Lebar airport. Terminal 2 was constructed in response to the growing passenger numbers and opened its doors to travelers in 1991.
Over the years, Changi has introduced numerous groundbreaking amenities, including the world’s first transit-area swimming pool in 1995. These innovations have set it apart from other airports globally. With features like a news hub, movie theater, and sports arena in 1998, Changi became a pioneer in providing an unmatched airport experience.
Changi’s Terminal 3 was added in 2008, featuring attractions like a 12-metre-high mega slide and a butterfly garden. Terminal 4 followed in 2017, and in 2019, Changi Jewel opened its doors, becoming a destination for locals even without travel plans. The complex features the world’s tallest indoor waterfall, the HSBC Rain Vortex, and a four-story Shiseido Forest Valley, offering a range of captivating experiences.
Changi Airport’s future holds more innovations, with automated immigration clearance set to launch in 2024, allowing passport-free departures based on biometric data. The ambitious Terminal 5 project, expected to welcome travelers in the mid-2030s, represents the airport’s continued commitment to redefining the travel experience.
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