How does T5 airport cost tens of billions?

Changi Airport averaged a little over 5.46 million passengers and 32,000 flights per month in 2018.

Before Jewel, it had an annual passenger handling load of 82m which has now been expanded to 85m so running at around 65.5m or 77% capacity. Although as most of us can attest it seems pretty empty most of the time when we are there so not sure if that’s entirely accurate.

According to our local air traffic controllers our current runways are almost at full capacity (90% of estimated theoretical max 430,000 flights per year), but we will be adding a 3rd runway to the mix by mid-2020 that will increase that by approx. 40% according to simulations.

Tomorrow I will ask a bit more about why we just spent $1.7B to add just 3.6% capacity but for now I am curious about Terminal 5.

Why are we building such a big terminal, est 50m passengers, when even if our expanded runways could reach a theoretical maximum capacity of 600,000 flights that would only handle around 102m passengers with current air fleets? As the A380 is being canned and bigger planes are not on the drawing board how will the passengers arrive?

Also why are we doing it now when we still have so much spare capacity and arrivals are only growing around 4.1% per year averaged over the last 5 years which is half of what it was the preceding 15 years. Even if that is maintained and does not drop further, we are nearly 10 years away from peak capacity… again if that’s accurate and not under quoted.

But most of all why does it cost so much? In fact, we don’t know exactly what it will cost we are just told “tens of billions”!

Here is a brief history of Changi Airport building costs.

-          All 4 Terminals sit on approx. 1,350 Hectares of Land

-          T1 opened in 1981 at a cost of just under $1Billion and has undergone several upgrades over the years, costing $170m in 1995, $420m in 1999, $500m in 2013.

-          The new Jewel extension to T1 just opened this year and cost $1.7B

-          T2 was opened in 1990 and cost $838m

-          T3 was opened in 2008 and cost $1.75B

-          T4 opened in 2017 and cost $985m

I believe that means we will have spent around $7.36B building the entire airport excluding the extra runway (which is est 2.3B more for all related contracts) when all that is added up.

(Oh Btw did you know Temasek bought the airport from the government for $3.28B and below book value in 2009? But that is another story.)

The exact size of T5 is not known but we have variously heard its bigger than T1, 2 and 3 combined and 10 times the size of Vivo City and sits on approx. 1000 Hectares of land with a projected passenger capacity of between 50 and 70 million people.

As Vivocity is 140,000m2, let’s say T5 will be 1.4million m2 – that’s 7.2 x the size of T4.

Now T4 costs are quite current so 72 x $985m = $7.1B as a fair estimate to build T5 right? Almost the cost of the entire existing airport.

Now of course they will ‘bling’ it up a bit as a main terminal but how much can they spend on glitz and glamour? Another $900m or being extravagant another $1.9B which is 25% more?

So, let’s say a glammed up T5 with all ancillaries’ costs $9B which is what the entire current airport cost so what are the other 10s of billions being spent on?

Every tax dollar the government spends should maximise the value for Singaporeans and should be fully accountable so can anyone explain why T5 while being smaller than the entire current airport is budgeted at unknown multiples of what that cost?

Especially when we likely can’t even land the passengers to fill it and don’t appear to need it urgently now anyway.

It’s like piecing together a jigsaw puzzle when the pieces are scattered throughout the forest but when combining the publicly available information the facts, reasoning and numbers just don’t add up?

Can anyone in the aviation or construction industry enlighten me?



Brad Bowyer




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21 Responses to “How does T5 airport cost tens of billions?”

  • MarBowling:

    Bro Brad,

    Not only you, BUT also most Sinkaporean esp the 30% need enlightenment!

    As his just completed Brainchild CLOWN [email protected] is located NEXT to T1, Suspect Mai Hum want CLOWN JEWEL No. 2 to be built next to T5 which is WHY the damn total cost is more than T1-T4 combined! Don’t forget, he is also going to build a Mother of all Grand [email protected] Oxtail Road, maybe costing another of couple $billions to commemorate his late Big Daddy, Lee Kayu, the FLOUNDERING Father of SinKapore! He has a Strong Mandate(currently 69.9% and most likely in the coming GE, 79.9%!)to do what he likes and fancies! When and NOT If he really gets 79.9%, he will most likely increase his and the rest of his World Class Ministers’ salaries by 50%! 69.9% what do you think?

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  • I Know:

    Jewel, T5 and other such needless projects are to artificially inflate GDP. MIW bonuses are tied to GDP growth so they make more money by spending our money recklessly instead of using it for social services, etc.

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  • N.Jungne:

    CBWAN says dunno leh.

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  • patriot of TUMASIK:

    Great…Brad will make Singapore the Republic Great again as compared to the IDIOTS who will Bankrupt SingaporeINC and take the 1st flight out through any of the 5 terminals or at Seletar where Private Jets are waiting

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  • Mr Bowyer:

    You really want to know, Mr Bowyer.
    The Cabin r filled with nfi arrogant, hungry, greedy aggressive
    (by what one of them telling NTUC also presumably to the citizenry, that if on wants a job, one needs to steal it from the foreigner but to do that one has to be greedier, hungrier n more aggressive, so on extrapolarion …)
    egoists. But the PRCs would tell you wow a lot of oil water whenever they hear of a siper mega project (if u must know what it means ask them ).
    But seriously not only nfi but r so furiously self glorifying that they just have to do something to show how clever n busy they r. Westerners refer this as bloody brainless showoff while we call it jialiaobi yaya papaya.
    Well if you insists of knowing, you will be told why r you kpkb literally translated cry father cry mother really mean you have nothing to do except faking crying father n faking crying mother. Now u know where the fakes come from n if not from the legalized source all r illegal subject to the nfi nothing better to do cabin mmulti billionaires!
    Other netizen may tell u more to clear your wondering but in the meaning do keep on wondering n the hospital will be happy for the dols, ha ha!

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  • Clever by Half & Utter Greedy:

    The clues are all there in this Singapore government: Exceptional in the whole world for its institutionalized crony-capitalism and dirt rich politician-businessmen. While the stressed-out masses slog on towards the grave with peanut wages fit for monkeys paying for top-of-the-world costs to get on with survival: we are a highly debt-ridden society….just ask the educated middle-class citizens.
    Sometimes our CPF-funded “sovereign wealth fund” makes lots of money; other times they lose like hell, but who knows? They neither share the profits with us CPF savers, nor do the losers face any public investigations.
    Is it true T5 is funded by a colossal loan from the World Bank?
    What would the UN-sanctioned economist Dr. Goh Keng Swee say to all these phenomenal going-ons? For those of us Singaporeans old enough to remember, he did warn us consummately about the catastrophic pitfalls of big government going directly in for corporate profits.

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  • Haigen-Diaz:

    Brad, that means the Govt. is betting all their stakes on a future 10 million population! Look at the relentless build-up of both public & private housing around you, despite property glut. The expansions of the shopping/retail/food malls despite slow growth, latest Jurong lakeside.

    Singaporeans should be able to surmise from all these tell-tale signs that the Govt. is going ahead with the 10 million population target.

    It is the 10 million population, Singaporeans have to worry about at the ballot boxes! Not the mass build-up of infrastructures which you asked, “why the overcapacity, huh?”

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  • Dr Tan Tai Wei:

    What I wonder is: why the jewel, and the other recreational things of all the terminals. Travelers and air arrivals are always too busy catching planes or getting taxis, etc., to have time for entertainment and shopping. That leaves locals and pleasure seekers having to join the airport departure and arrival rush just for fun, causing genuine travelers to miss flights, etc., on account of long traffic jams, finding parking slots, etc. And fun seekers pay exorbitant parking fees, less than had the fun been located elsewhere.

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  • Rock N Roll:

    Good points.
    Hope we can accommodate all those extra visitors projected as
    our population almost doubles! Will there be enough clean air
    to breathe? Got enough water??? Public transport systems ready
    to carry double the amount of people???? Health facilities
    able to deal with more than double the no of sick pple now?????

    Also curious about the Jewel. Seems odd to build a major mall
    as retail collapses. If they’re selling namebrand goods, will pple
    be willing to spend more here when they can get the same stuff
    cheaper in the region? Then there’s the food! Weird to be pushing
    a slew of foreign eateries even as we try to go down in history
    books for hawker food…. No news abt that in the many reports.
    Whatever it is, we at least have a new source of water — in case
    our current wells dry up for whatever reason….

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  • LIONS:

    Ten$ of BILLION$ only mah?

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  • fake INDIAN malay milo:

    gic temasick exist so that 70% sheep lives become better.

    because gic temasick manned by expensive S$m nepotism cronyism, useless pieces of Ljs and Cbs, only good at throwing dollars reaping cents.

    so much so not only lives of 70% sheep become worse, they also need to top up emptying coffers in gic temasick via increasing GST.

    many said Qing dynasty won’t die because Qing peasants kiasi kiasu. but Qing dynasty died and is NO more. why?

    because Qing peasants were squeezed to the point kiasi kiasu mean nothing but revolt. so the same with 70% sheep revolt. a matter of timing.

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  • 西毒欧羊疯:





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  • Spineless Sinkie Syndrome:

    It is not only the probable wastage of billions in tax-payer monies, but note that all these major infrastructure ego-trips often entails many highly dubious accounting and business transactions.

    Let me explain using the following examples here:

    - Brad already indicated the dubious nature of all these works and the suspicious blurring of the lines between private-public accounts, for which I doubt the current bunch of overpaid monkeys will ever come clean about.

    E.g.) If CapitalMall is the one throwing its own private money into the Jewel investments, then I couldn’t care less if its a waste or not since this is a PRIVATE business decision and a private business risk undertaken.

    However, if PUBLIC money is involved in any amounts whatsoever, then we certainly need full PUBLIC accountability and transparency of these “investments” and how the Losses are going to be managed as well as how Profits are to be distributed. As a footnote, the recent Hyflux debacle could be a an early warning sign of more to come?

    - In many of these massive billion dollar projects for the dubious purposes of artificially boosting GDP numbers or creating “jobs” (to build the proverbial monuments to nowhere and for no good economic purpose), or as fillers to showcase some tangible achievements to cover over the multiple shortcomings and failures of the incumbent administration.

    E.g.) Historically, many despots often resort to massive infrastructure and economically unsound public works for the dual purposes of keeping the populace engaged with “busy work” or entertained, and hence less likely to have time for revolt, while also using it as a showcase to glorify his own power and achievements.

    The Great Wall of China or building gigantic Mausoleums are classic examples where public coffers were drained and millions died to build monument(s) for glorification and which is mostly non-functional or detrimental for the common people.

    Another classic example is the Coliseum in ancient Rome, where Emperors spent huge amounts to distract the people via “blood sports” and other extravagant entertainment.

    In this respect, the Loony Loong is not that different with his proposed “FLounder’s Memorial” with an as yet unknown costing; and of course, the extravagant Jewel, transforming other regions into touristy “entertainment” spots and the never ending series of additional airport Terminals plus many other major expenditure on “hardware”.

    …to be ccontinued….

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  • Spineless Sinkie Syndrome:


    Notice that this is the same loony behavior that he resorted to back in early 2000s, with the announcement of the Integrated Resorts amidst much fanfare.

    Of course, back then, no one would listen to my ramblings against such folly, because everyone seemed convinced that his Casinos and resorts will be creating thousands of “jobs” opportunities for local residents.

    See now, where are those “jobs” and the opportunity is all a mirage of gambling losses for many broke and broken families, regardless of how high they are going to adjust the entrance fees for local residents. Ha!

    Well, as expected Sinkies with Spineless Sinkie Syndrome (SSS) will throng to this new Jewel to ogle and take selfies or simply to escape from the sweltering heat. Let’s see how long this new Jewel and her high-rent paying tenants can last before they call it quits. Ha!

    - Finally, many of these major infrastructure builds are often a cesspool of crony capitalism, insider dealings and blatant corruption of the highest order. I do not need to remind the reader of the many long-running corruption scams with Keppel, with ST groups, with various big and small crony companies allied with PA and/or PAP groups, from the OKP construction of collapsing highways to giving lucrative and over-priced contracts to “friends” such as the now forgotten “Brompton bikes” incident with the “Hara-Kiri” man (google those terms if you are not familiar with them).

    There are just too many Crony Capitalist here to mentioned in full. The worst injustice is that even after the AGO audit report very clearly stated a long list of financial infractions by various governmental and statutory bodies, no one seemed to be bothered by it, the MSM gave little attention to it, the opposition Wayang Party did nothing much, no one was prosecuted and so with time the “dafts” not surprisingly simply forgot about the whole incident.

    Sinkies often pride themselves in having a “clean” system that ranks amongst the top few in “Least Corrupted” rankings in the world. I would say the greatest thing about the incumbent party is their excellent skills in propaganda presentation, keeping up appearances and hiding the ugly under-belly with “sophistry” or plain mis-representation and half-truths.

    Admittedly, they have world-class skills in these areas that would make even the North Koreans (with their Kim family reign claiming to to endure another thousand years) sorely envious.

    Lets see whether the current PAPy party can outlast the Kim regime. Ha!

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  • 彻底的没救了!:


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  • Haigen-Diaz:

    The parallels are striking, the Roman Republic distracted its people with bread and circus; Local elites were offered a good life, with attractive Roman values — Amphitheaters! Bathhouses! Wine! Stuffed dormice! — and the imperial system was open enough that especially able and ambitious provincials could aspire to move to the center of things. And that thriving, interdependent economy rewarded those who adopted Roman values and assimilated with the Roman system.

    I truly believe many of the choices made today are because it we are getting stupider as a nation. Whether it is too
    much bad food, chemical poisoning, anti-intellectualism, or the overall trend to a post-literate society, our ability for
    critical thinking is diminishing. When people of a nation cannot no longer make clear and proper judgements, we are in trouble.

    Either way, the evidence is pretty clear cut. Mass migration destroyed the civilization of Rome. Archaeological and anthropological evidence tells us that following the fall, literacy plummeted, living conditions plummeted, coinage went out of use, bodies were smaller and more malnourished, livestock were fewer in number and smaller, slavery and banditry was rife, and the building of sturdy structures gave way to mud and thatch.

    What was different between now and then? Today, we actually do have the technology, the communications, the defensive advantage, but fundamentally, we’re dealing with the same problem of barbarians at the gates. And make no mistake, the ‘barbarians’ are definitely inside the gates. We’re in trouble because our politicians have forgotten who they are supposed to work for. The other problem is a lack of critical thinking among voters. Too many believe whatever a politician tells them.

    Spineless Sinkie Syndrome: E.g.) Historically,

    many despots often resort to massive infrastructure and economically unsound public works for the dual purposes of

    keeping the populace engaged with “busy work” or entertained, and hence less likely to have time for revolt, while

    also using it as a showcase to glorify his own power and achievements.

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  • 第五咖啡店:

    没有生活在亚洲土地上“高加索人”对以前的这里一切诸多挑剔,恐怕今天还是渔村一个的咯! 还大英帝国军基地?





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  • 10mil pop then 15,or 20?:

    seems like they are rushing to set up all these huge infrastructure one after another .
    in an effort get the population up to 10mil as quickly as possible??
    cant stand that childish Merdeka Package song on tv (with Rahimah Rahim,Dick Lee,Jessica abisheganathan etc)..
    gov give with one hand ,later grab back triple!
    if that isnt a buying votes move, i dunno what is!

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  • Yellow East:

    Yellow east r deadly fond of extra mega project with figures go as high as possible so as to carry oil water to spray across the board. This will help facilitating the PlpsGFWs claiming rewards for their accumulated PlpGFW credits. There will a rush for arrangement for anyhow anybs meeting with sufficient time to spend in the dark rooms playing with the little boxes with number indicative of the oil water flowing under the table screened tightly by the comrades at arms under the banners in tandem with the winds proudly displaying the greed hunger pimps and the shameless spread prostitutes. That’s the 5 decades of their sworn oath on the heads of the comrades harmonized faith with unblinking eyes fixed on the clearly oil water printed note to be dropped into foreign CEO guarded boxes for early despatch to Mr Peanut Promised land but for Le daft people, they could only kpkb on the upteen generations of the peanuts n cradle warming baby sitters.

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  • 西毒欧羊疯:



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  • 西毒欧羊疯:

    没有生活在亚洲土地上“高加索人”对以前的这里一切诸多挑剔,恐怕今天还是渔村一个的咯! 还大英帝国军基地?


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