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Old November 18th, 2004, 09:16 PM   #321
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http://www.payloadasia.com/Guides/guides_frames.htm

Wake-up call for Changi's groundhandlers

In a move to offer airlines more choice and drive down costs, the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) earlier this year decided to award a third ground handling contract for Changi Airport. The fight for market share has already begun. A report by editor Nol van Fenema.


In addition to the incumbent ground handlers, Singapore Airport Terminal Services (SATS) and Changi International Airport Services (CIAS), CAAS, after a formal bidding process earlier this year, awarded a third ground handling contract to Switzerland-based Swissport International.

In a move that is likely to change the Republic’s ground handling landscape even further, Temasek Holdings, the Singapore government-controlled investment company, in August announced it had sold its 78.4 percent stake in CIAS to Dubai-based ground handler, DNATA.

Both announcements created quite a stir among the existing players with SATS chairman Edmnd Cheng Wai Wing predicting that the entry of a third handler at Changi could “put pressure on rates and market share”.

CAAS director (air cargo)/deputy director (airport management), Foo Sek Min says that before putting out the bid for the third ground handling contract, CAAS made a very careful study, not for the sake of opening up the market, but to get a better idea of how ground handling activities were carried out in other countries. “So we talked to the major players in this industry and visited a number of airports. We came to the conclusion that, based on our current cargo volumes, there that was room for three players,” he says.

Foo adds that he can’t predict whether Swissport will be able to gain market share after they start operations at Changi. “But we do know that in markets where there has been liberalisation with more than two players, prices have come down by an average 20 percent.” As ground handling costs are on average about 25 percent of airlines’ operating costs, the move is music to the ears of the embattled airline industry, which has been looking everywhere for cost savings.

Yet, Foo believes that CAAS has taken a very careful approach and not opened the market like in some European countries, where there are sometimes eight ground handlers providing service to the airlines.

“It is a very controlled process and we continue to look at maintaining safety and service standards. At the same time we expect the competition to drive down the prices,” he says.

Another consequence of allowing a third ground handler, is that CAAS wants to make Changi more attractive and competitive at a time when airports in surrounding countries are likely to become major rivals.

Now that the first emotions about the impending competition have somewhat subsided, SATS has indicated that it will take the new competition from Swissport and DNATA very seriously. In fact, shortly after the award to Swissport, SATS announced a series of staff reductions and outsourcing of certain activities in an effort to reduce costs.

According to Ng Chin Hwee, president & CEO of SATS, “It is a bit early to tell if the third handler will put pressure on rates and market share, because Swissport hasn’t yet started its operations.” But he recognises that SATS “will have to adapt itself to all kinds of scenarios that might emerge in an environment where there is a third competitor.”

But Ludwig Bertsch, Swissport International executive vice president Asia, Africa, Middle East & Global Cargo, points to the rather ironic situation that while Swissport hasn’t even started operations at Changi, “SATS is already reducing its staff and outsourcing close to 1,000 people to a sub-contractor.”

Adds Peter Kohl, the new managing director of Swissport Singapore: “Even people with a job at the two ground handling companies, walk into our office practically every day and they ask if we have already started our hiring process.”

Ng Chin Wee

Bertsch says "We don’t think it is going to be easy, but this is a strategic and long-term decision for us and we will not pull out. If we would pull out, the signal in the region would be terrible. If we don’t get ten flights in the first 12 months, so be it.”

Kohl says: “Whatever we do here, radiates through the region. We are being looked at by our competitors.”

Over at the premises of CIAS, the new competition is more or less shrugged off. “Competition has been around since we came on the scene 27 years ago,” says Georgie Ong Teck Hwee, CIAS’ chief financial officer and vice president marketing. “It will become more intense in the coming years, but we are confident of meeting the challenges as they come along.”

Rumours in the market suggest that CIAS has “locked up” several of its clients for the coming years by signing contracts before Swissport was appointed by CAAS.

While Ong says he can’t comment on the rumour, stating that the contracts are “commercial agreements”, he stresses that the airlines “will continue as customers of CIAS.”

Even following the acquisition of CIAS by DNATA, Ong insists that carriers such as Emirates and SriLankan Airlines (in which Emirates has a 49 percent stake) will remain with CIAS. But he says, it is “likely” that the remaining shareholders - Air France-KLM, GlobeGround, China Airlines, Garuda, and Lufthansa – will sell their stakes to DNATA, making the Dubai-based company the sole owner of CIAS. However, Ong stresses that the sale is “a matter between the airlines and DNATA. We are not privy to what the timeframe is, but we believe that it is ongoing.”

CIAS has only one foreign investment in the region in the form of a 20 percent stake-holding in a passenger handling joint venture in Guangzhou, which would seem to make it more vulnerable to the increased competition at its home base than rival SATS and Swissport.

SATS executive Ng confirms that an important part of its survival strategy is its overseas investments in ground handling and catering.

An example is the 49 percent stake that SATS recently acquired in Hong Kong-based Asia Airfreight Terminal (AAT) at Chek Lap Kok, by buying 24.5 percent in the facility, which was held by CIAS. The strategic move has made SATS the single largest shareholder in AAT.

The AAT terminal currently holds about 20 percent market share at Hong Kong International Airport and serves 23 airline customers. Hong Kong Air Cargo Terminals Ltd. (HACTL), is the leading ground handling company at the airport. Earlier this year, SATS acquired a 49.8 percent stake in JAS Airport Services of Indonesia, making it SATS‘ 13th overseas venture.

“I think the airline industry in Asia is a developing one and I am very confident of other opportunities in this part of the world,” Ng says. He adds that: “Asia will be our focus although we would also seriously look at a place like Dubai, if that would ever come up for consideration.” India is another part of the region that has his full attention. SATS has catering joint ventures in that country, but not a cargo handling operation.

“Most of the joint ventures that we have, cargo is tied to the passenger handling. The only exceptions are AAT and our joint venture cargo handling in Vietnam.”

Ng says that SATS’ overseas ventures, including both passenger and cargo handling activities plus catering contribute 15.1 percent to overall profit before tax. “Our medium-term goal is to shoot for a 20 to 25 percent contribution.”

Swissport's Bertsch acknowledges that in the long run, the Asian region has potential. “But at the moment, the industry is not in a good shape, he says.

“Just imagine that a couple of years ago, an airport like Singapore would tender for a third ground handler, and only two companies would participate. That shows already what stage our industry is in. In addition, it also shows the perception that our competitors have of this market. It is not easy and we do take a big risk. But with our global ambitions and the current weakness in the region, we know we have to do something.”


To start operations as quickly as possible, Swissport will temporarily move to an existing terminal at Changi while it awaits the completion of its own newly-built facility, which is constructed by CAAS and leased to Swissport for ten years.

Bertsch says: “We are putting in our own ground handling equipment, such as an ETV and container storage system of 250 positions, which is estimated to cost about 7 million euros.”

The initial capacity will be 125,000 tonnes per year with a planned expansion in the second phase to 320,000 tonnes a year. Swissport has hired former MASkargo vice president and airport Hahn advisor, Ralph Götz as a consultant to liaise with CAAS about the construction of the terminal and installation of the equipment. The company has yet to decide on the equipment supplier and invitations to bid will be put out this month.

Groundwork for the terminal has already started and the facility is scheduled to begin operations by October 2005. Bertsch says Swissport plans to have around 400 staff working at the new facility within the first 12 months of operation.

With cargo volumes at Changi in the past eight months showing significant growth increases after the downturn caused by the SARS epidemic and the Iraq war, it would seem that the future is looking bright for the three ground handlers.

Foo says the airport has had eight straight months of growth culminating in more than one million tonnes of cargo in the period from January to August. “If this continues, we will see record volumes this year of 1.5 million tonnes. It’s going to be higher than in 2002 and 2003.”

Asked about the “growing pie in air cargo” that CAAS says, among other things, justifies their decision to allow a third cargo handler, SATS CEO, Ng comments that, although he respects CAAS’s viewpoints, “it is still unclear if that perceived growth will support the appointment of a third cargo handler. But we are certainly hopeful that the market will grow. It is in my interest and that of our shareholders, that that market grows.”


Artist's impression of the new Swissport cargo facilities at Singapore's Changi airport. Initial capacity will be 125,000 tonnes annually.

Ng makes it a point to correct the impression that SATS, before the new entries, had been in a “cosy” position despite its 80 percent market share.

“It wasn’t if all had been given to us. There was already competition, so it is not new to us. Whether it is Swissport or DNATA, quite frankly we don’t think it makes any difference. We take all this competition seriously from day one.”

At CIAS, Ong remains non-committal, stating that there will be increased competition, and that CIAS “has as good a chance” to capture new clients as Swissport and SATS. “Every new carrier that starts flying to Changi, is a potential client for us,” he says.

However, Swissport’s Bertsch feels that the existing handlers at Changi haven’t seen real competition. “If you look at SATS’ annual report you will see they have margins that we can only dream off. They are talking about margins of 25 percent to 28 percent. If we are able to make ten percent, we are happy. So that’s the difference in perception.”

In cargo volumes, Singapore Changi at the moment ranks fourth in the Asian region behind Hong Kong, Tokyo’s Narita and South Korea’s Incheon Airport. If that competition isn’t already strong enough, airports in neighbouring countries, such as Malaysia and Thailand, are increasingly upgrading and expanding their cargo facilities to accommodate more business. In addition, there is a developing trend among some carriers to bypass Singapore and fly direct from, for instance Bangkok to Australia.

In other words, there are a couple of developments in the region’s air cargo market that make it imperative for Changi to remain competitive and maintain its service and safety levels.

CAAS cargo head, Foo says: “I think Bangkok will become a big threat when they come up. They are going to have the capacity that has constrained their growth for so many years.”He admits that thanks to Singapore’s foresight to build ultra-modern airport facilities at a time when neighbouring countries simply did not have any comparable airport infrastructures, Changi has had it relatively easy for a number of years.

“So it is going to be more competitive and we have to prepare ourselves to meet this competition and cost is only part of the equation.” He adds there are other factors, such as belly-hold and main-deck capacity, connectivity, efficiency, a network of forwarders and the manufacturing activities in place.

“It is a combination of factors and you can’t say that, just because the airport is now the second cheapest in aeronautical fees in Asia Pacific, it will be getting more cargo. We are part of this chain and we need to get ourselves in a good position where we bring together all the other factors.”


The current SATS facilities have a throughput capacity of 2.1 million tonnes per annum and SATS is presently handling 1.5 to 1.6 million tonnes. The facilities will be sufficient until 2009 to 2010.

Being part of the system is more than just having an airport, argues Foo. Singapore’s Economic Development Board has to do its job, the Singapore economy has to restructure itself to be more competitive, and the Republic has to bring in the right investments. And Changi has to be competitive to bring the transhipment cargo through Singapore.

One of the CAAS initiatives to boost Singapore as an integrated logistics centre in Asia by 2010, has been the creation of the Airport Logistics Park of Singapore (ALPS).

The 26 hectares ALPS, was launched in 2003 and Foo admits that a number of external factors, such as the SARS epidemic, the economic recession, and the Iraq war, have somewhat affected the take-up of space at the Park.


“Of course, we didn’t expect a 100 percent occupancy when we launched. We started slow, but in one and a half years since the opening, the progress has been steady with at the moment 30 percent of the available space being occupied by a number of global logistics providers,” he says.

He adds that by the end of October, an additional 20 percent of the available ALPS space will be taken up by two separate companies: US-based AMB and the French-German logistics provider SDV, bringing the occupancy rate to 50 percent.

Foo says that in the next couple of months, another 15 percent will be taken up. “We’ll probably be 70 percent full by next year,” he says, “so we will have to start planning for the second phase.”

One of the countries that the ground handlers at Changi will be particularly looking at for growth, is China. After initial concerns that the mainland would pull away all manufacturing capacity from other Asian countries, the reality today is that Singapore and other countries in the region, continue to remain relevant in this China production change. But the supply chain has become more complicated and is more stretched.

As a matter of fact, traffic between China and Singapore has grown significantly as much of the production processes take place in China, but the intermediate products come to Singapore for value added activities or to finish the products. This is where ALPS plays a role.

According to Foo, at the moment the Chinese carriers are just scratching the surface as far as air cargo is concerned with most of the volumes carried as belly-hold cargo. “Cargo is still a by-product, so it will take some time for them to fully exploit the cargo potential. But they will come.”


SATS largest foreign cargo investment is its 49 percent stake in hong Kong's Asia Airfreight Terminal.

Asked what CAAS is doing to attract more Chinese operators with freighters to fly to Singapore, Foo says that although the Authority is very much interested to drive cargo between the two countries, its ability to attract these customers is limited.

“A lot depends on economic factors beyond our control or influence. But if Chinese carriers want to regionalise, Singapore is in a very favourable position for them to come.”



Asked what other activities should be developed by Singapore’s ground handling companies to meet the CAAS’ objective of making Changi airport the preferred hub in the region.

See Seng Wan, vice president ground & cargo services division CIAS says: "Rates are one thing of course, but other factors such as connectivity, speed of delivery, customisation of needs, etc, also influence the decision by an airline. In addition, there are factors such as logistics facilities, regional warehousing facilities, state-of-the-art security measures and efficient customs clearing.”

One thing that is crystal clear to Bertsch, is that Swissport will not be saving money by lowering its standards.

“That’s out of the question. Apart from the fact that it wouldn’t be a Swissport policy to do so, the standards in the tender papers gave us a very good indication of the quality levels expected from companies operating in Singapore, he notes.
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Old November 18th, 2004, 09:18 PM   #322
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you know..i have always wanted to be a groundhandler
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Old November 19th, 2004, 01:59 AM   #323
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drwho
you know..i have always wanted to be a groundhandler
You serious?! Are you studying towards that right now?
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"My Settlement of Singapore continues to thrive most wonderfully - it is all and everything I could wish and, if no untimely fate awaits it, promises to become the Emporium and the pride of the East" - Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles, 10th September 1820
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Old November 19th, 2004, 03:41 AM   #324
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Quote:
Originally Posted by huaiwei
You serious?! Are you studying towards that right now?
hehehe no i am not studying to it....but it would be a cool thing you know....i like airports...i dunno why ..tried once to get a job at Landvetter airport (in sweden) as a groundhandler...didnt get the job
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Old November 22nd, 2004, 01:52 AM   #325
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drwho
hehehe no i am not studying to it....but it would be a cool thing you know....i like airports...i dunno why ..tried once to get a job at Landvetter airport (in sweden) as a groundhandler...didnt get the job
Jesus...do they pay well? I dont think its a common profession for people to dream about over here, I am sad to report!
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"My Settlement of Singapore continues to thrive most wonderfully - it is all and everything I could wish and, if no untimely fate awaits it, promises to become the Emporium and the pride of the East" - Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles, 10th September 1820
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Old November 22nd, 2004, 04:21 PM   #326
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Air Zimbabwe's maiden flight from Harare arrives at Changi airport

22 Nov 04



SINGAPORE : Holidaymakers can now fly non-stop to Zimbabwe in the heart of Africa in 10 hours.

Air Zimbabwe's maiden flight from the capital city of Harare touched down at Changi Airport on Monday.

It is the eighth new airline to fly into Changi this year.

Flights from Zimbabwe will arrive here every Tuesday and Saturday en route to Beijing.

And return flights will depart Harare every Wednesday and Sunday.

Zimbabwe is home to the world-famous Victoria Falls and many wildlife reserves.

And it is now the fourth African destination to now have air links with Singapore, alongside Cape Town, Johannesburg and Cairo. - CNA
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Old November 22nd, 2004, 07:11 PM   #327
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Cool...so anyone going to Harare?
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Old November 22nd, 2004, 07:42 PM   #328
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Quote:
Originally Posted by huaiwei
Cool...so anyone going to Harare?
Go there do wat?? Feed lions ah?
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Old November 23rd, 2004, 07:46 AM   #329
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Originally Posted by babystan03
Go there do wat?? Feed lions ah?
Hahaha...I so bony.....

Notice quite a nice ad in the Changi airport site about Harare thou?
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"My Settlement of Singapore continues to thrive most wonderfully - it is all and everything I could wish and, if no untimely fate awaits it, promises to become the Emporium and the pride of the East" - Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles, 10th September 1820
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Old November 24th, 2004, 11:22 AM   #330
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Time is GMT + 8 hours
Posted: 24 November 2004 1550 hrs

FedEx expands in Singapore with new financial services centre
By Chua Chin Chye, Channel NewsAsia

SINGAPORE : FedEx, the world's largest express delivery company, is expanding its operations in Singapore with a Financial Services Centre, its first such facility outside the US.

The centre will help FedEx better serve customers, who have offices in multiple countries, by standardising processes across Asia Pacific and ensuring consistent service levels.

FedEx has brought in workers indigenous to the 14 countries that its new financial services centre will serve, including Malaysia, Hong Kong, China, Thailand, Japan, and Korea.

There are about 140 employees currently working in the centre, which handles accounting and revenue operations.

While Hong Kong remains the regional headquarters for FedEx in Asia, it was pipped by Singapore when it came to choosing the venue for the Financial Services Centre.

"Singapore has great infrastructure, it has an educated workforce, is English-speaking, is multi-cultural, multi-language, is tremendously efficient from a productivity standpoint. It's also more costly because wages are higher here. So, take all of these factors, put together, determine what is the right activity in what markets," said David Cunningham, FedEx's Asia Pacific president.

FedEx sees Asia as its fastest-growing market in the next 20 years.

"Our business has been growing very well. In our first quarter ended August, we grew 20 plus percent on an outbound basis from Asia; China grew 50 plus percent. We are seeing some very strong growth out of Asia, not only to the US, Europe, but also on an intra-Asian basis," Mr Cunningham said.

So strong is the growth that FedEx opened a 43,000 square foot facility in an industrial park in Senai, Johor, last year.

The move fanned speculation that FedEx had plans to use Senai, which is aiming to capture cargo from Changi.

So far, that has not materialised.

But FedEx may yet find more reason to grow in Singapore, because of lower costs of cargo services brought about by increased competition from a third ground handler at Changi Airport. - CNA

Copyright © 2004 MCN International Pte Ltd
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Old November 24th, 2004, 12:05 PM   #331
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Business Times - 24 Nov 2004

Changi airport retailer sees better business

But profit margin will be smaller as budget traveller traffic increases

By ANDREA TAN

AIRPORT retailer Nuance Watson (Singapore) says budget airlines will generate more business for the company but at lower profit margins.

The company - sole retailer of perfumes and cosmetics at Changi Airport terminals 1 and 2 - expects a 5 per cent rise in turnover next year to $180 million.

'The 5 per cent increase is due to higher passenger levels driven by low-cost carriers, new brands and a better economic outlook,' executive general manager Ken Tse told BT.

'Low-cost carriers present a major opportunity to increase passenger levels - but they spend substantially less and this could be at the expense of profits.'

Mr Tse declined to reveal profit numbers, but Nuance Watson is in the black. It is looking at more than $170 million turnover for this year - up 30 per cent from 2003 and similar to that of listed retailer CK Tang.

Nuance-Watson is a joint venture of The Nuance Group and A S Watson - one of the five core divisions of Hong Kong tycoon Li Ka-shing's Hutchison Whampoa.

Nuance Watson pays about $70 million in concession fees each year for its space at the Changi airport - on top of rent. The concession fees rise if more passengers go through the airport.

The company has 15 airport stores, occupying about 27,000 sq ft of retail space. The concession for its mega store in Terminal 2 runs until August 2006 and that for Terminal 1, until March 2007. Airport concessions in Singapore typically run for about five years.

As part of its expansion plans, Nuance Watson is opening an Italian restaurant called Brek Ristorante in Singapore and eyeing a major tobacco and alcohol concession in Asia.

The company also operates downtown stores in the Asia-Pacific region, but Mr Tse said that it has no plans for one in Singapore because competition is stiff and margins, thin.

One of the keys to Nuance Watson's airport success is stocking a wide range of brands that appeal to different markets. 'We've introduced over 30 brands to the airport,' Mr Tse said.

'We haven't focused on the Japanese or the Chinese traveller, and so were far less affected by the decline in spending by the Japanese or when Sars struck.'

Singaporeans, Australians and Indonesians account for about half of sales.

Nuance Watson offers more than 80 brands of cosmetics, skin-care products and fragrances, with bestseller SK-II expected to contribute $10 million to revenue this year.

The company claims that its retail prices are up to 40 per cent lower than downtown department stores. And prices are revised monthly to stick to its claim of 'lowest prices in Asia Pacific'.

Nuance Watson's Singapore operation was named 'Best Fragrance and Cosmetics Travel Retailer in Asia Pacific' and 'Best new shop opening at an airport in Asia Pacific' at the Raven Fox awards in May.

Copyright © 2004 Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. All rights reserved.
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Old November 25th, 2004, 07:30 PM   #332
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Posted: 25 November 2004 2115 hrs

FAST system at Terminal 2 airport allows for quick check-in, immigration clearance

By Dominique Loh, Channel NewsAsia


SINGAPORE : Two minutes is all it takes to check-in and pass through immigration for departures at Changi Airport's Terminal 2.

That's the potential of the Fully Automated Seamless Travel or FAST system that has been on trial since November 1.

But it is far from being a perfect solution to your travelling woes.

Forget long lines at the check-in counter and waiting between eight to 15 minutes for your turn.

If you are a SIA KrisFlyer member, have yourself registered and get your very own FAST card.

The Civil Aviation Authority claims FAST system can clear your check-in and immigration in just under two minutes.

But the system is also in its trial stages which means, the kinks are still being ironed out.

So far, the six-month trial only works for those who board a plane with carry-on luggage and who are travelling to Bangkok, Jakarta, Bali, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Manila, Penang and Surabaya.

Poh Young Peng, Assistant Airport Manager at the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore, said: "The teething problems include travellers using the system to travel to a destination not covered in the system. Another is passengers not familiar with the system, so it may actually take longer than two minutes."

Officials from the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority say it is virtually impossible for anyone to impersonate another traveller.

The system has two levels of authentication - facial recognition and fingerprinting identification.

Lim Jing Jing, Senior Communications Executive at the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority, said: "The additional safeguard is the fingerprint scanning even in the case of identical twins, their fingerprint is different. There is no chance of people getting pass immigration using another person's card."

So, will the FAST card become your ticket to fly? Only if the trial proves successful for it to be implemented on a larger scale. - CNA
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Old November 28th, 2004, 01:17 AM   #333
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The advert in the changi site. Quite cool!

Experience the Excitement of the African Safari with Air Zimbabwe

Air Zimbabwe would be commencing a 2 weekly Harare-Singapore-Beijing vv service with effect from 22 November 2004. Flights to Harare, the capital of Zimbabwe, depart from Singapore Changi Airport every Wednesday and Sunday.

Harare has a population of over 1.6 million and is the centre of the Zimbabwe government. Its colonial past has resulted in a distinctly European architecture, and most travellers are pleasantly surprised by its vibrant arts scene, with the acclaimed National Gallery of Zimbabwe and performances by top musicians in the Kopje area of the city.


Victoria Falls, World Heritage Site and one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World

More importantly, Harare serves as a hub where the traveller could visit several world-class tourist attractions. These include the Victoria Falls, a World Heritage Site and one of the seven Natural Wonders of the world. Measuring 1.7km in length with an average vertical drop of 100m, it dwarfs even the Niagara Falls in terms of size and majesty.

Travellers could also see the Great Zimbabwe National Monument, a spectacular archaeological site where the capital of a wealthy Shona society once stood before being abandoned in the 15th century. The old stone ruins and winding corridors make up the largest ancient stone structures in Africa south of the Egyptian pyramids.


Great Zimbabwe National Monument

Zimbabwe's breathtaking national parks are also favourites with travellers seeking a touch with nature off the beaten track. There are abundant opportunities to see animals like lions, elephants, giraffes and zebras in their natural habitats. For the more adventurous wishing to spend nights in the wild African safari, camping facilities are also available.


Matusadona National Park

For more information on tourism in Zimbabwe, visit www.zimbabwetourism.co.zw.
Details on Air Zimbabwe can be found at www.airzim.co.zw.

With these new services, Singapore Changi Airport now features more than 70 airlines offering over 3600 flights weekly to more than 170 destinations in over 50 countries.

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Old November 30th, 2004, 01:41 PM   #334
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^
Wah seems like a nice place.......But I really doubt the viability of the route......I seldom see ppl going to Africa for travelling......
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Old December 1st, 2004, 03:35 PM   #335
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Business Times - 01 Dec 2004

S'pore gives free tickets to transit passengers

SINGAPORE - Singapore is trying to lure more transit passengers from its airport into the republic, officials said on Wednesday.

Among a raft of initiatives, the tourism board will hand out free travel passes to transit passengers this month, said Transport Minister Yeo Cheow Tong. Each ticket allows 10 complimentary train rides.

'With more and more countries in Asia opening up and making themselves more accessible to tourists, we will face increasing competition for international tourists,' Mr Yeo said. 'We therefore have to explore new and creative ways to attract people to Singapore.'

Under the scheme there will also be three new visitor centres at Changi Airport, which handled 24.7 million passengers in the first eight months of this year, up 3.4 per cent from the same period last year.

Gerald Lee, the Singapore Tourism Board's assistant chief executive, said Changi saw more than five million transit passengers in 2002, but only 400,000 of them ventured downtown, spending S$61 million.

Mr Lee added that the new initiatives will hopefully lead to a 25 per cent increase in the number of transit passengers stepping out of the airport.

Tourism is a vital industry in Singapore and contributes about 10 per cent of its gross domestic product.

Copyright © 2004 Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. All rights reserved.
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Old December 2nd, 2004, 12:58 AM   #336
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Quote:
Originally Posted by babystan03
^
Wah seems like a nice place.......But I really doubt the viability of the route......I seldom see ppl going to Africa for travelling......
Haha...thats why the flight routing goes beyond Singapore to Beijing, so now you can fly to Beijing on their (hopefully airworthy) planes too?
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Old December 2nd, 2004, 01:20 AM   #337
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Originally Posted by huaiwei
Haha...thats why the flight routing goes beyond Singapore to Beijing, so now you can fly to Beijing on their (hopefully airworthy) planes too?
I supposed Singapore is a "hub" for them in Asia??
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Old December 2nd, 2004, 05:13 AM   #338
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This story was printed from TODAYonline

Fly me to London on Qatar Airways

The fast-expanding airline now flies to Gatwick Airport daily

Thursday • December 2, 2004

TRAVELLERS from Singapore can now fly daily to London's Gatwick Airport on Qatar Airways.

The airfare, from $1,030 (excluding taxes and surcharges), includes a free stop in Bangkok on Thai Airways. From Bangkok, they will fly to Gatwick via Doha on Qatar Airways.

Doha is the capital of Qatar and the airline's operational hub.

The addition of Gatwick is aimed at strengthening the airline's operations in the United Kingdom, where it already serves London's Heathrow Airport with two daily flights.

As one of the world's fastest growing airlines, Qatar Airways is planning to further expand its global network in the next few months.

Apart from London, Gatwick, the airline also began flying to Beijing recently. Since Nov 25, the airline has been flying to the Chinese capital three times a week.

From mid-January, it will start flying to Johannesburg and Cape Town in South Africa four times a week.

The new routes are in addition to Qatar Airways' more than 50 existing destinations across the world.

It currently flies to areas such as Europe, Middle East, North Africa, the Indian sub-continent and the Far East.

The airline has been awarded the prestigious five-star airline ranking by Skytrax, a global aviation research company.

For more information on Qatar Airways, log on to www.qatarairways.com.

Copyright MediaCorp Press Ltd. All rights reserved.
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Old December 6th, 2004, 04:55 PM   #339
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Hmm...I am kinda surprised. The brits gave them the green light to fly that route??
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Old December 6th, 2004, 05:32 PM   #340
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Time is GMT + 8 hours
Posted: 06 December 2004 2240 hrs

CAAS registers net surplus of S$259m for FY2003/04
By Thomas Cho, Channel NewsAsia

SINGAPORE: The Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) has reported a net surplus of S$259m for its financial year 2003/04 despite the effects of SARS last year.

In its latest annual report, CAAS reported that its total return to net assets was almost 6 percent.

That's not bad, considering that its operating income fell 16% to S$779m for the year to March 2004.

This was due mainly to a fall in passenger traffic and a corresponding decline in commercial revenue, all because of the impact of SARS.

But the good news is that passenger traffic is recovering.

In the first six months of this calendar year, passenger traffic grew 35.5% on-year.

In fact, the airport authority expects this year's passenger traffic to reach an all-time high - exceeding the 29 million passengers achieved two years ago.

Today, Changi Airport has more than 70 airlines serving over 160 cities in 52 countries around the world.

The airport now handles more than 3,400 flights a week - higher than the pre-SARS period. - CNA

Copyright © 2004 MCN International Pte Ltd
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