Singapore airport handles record 51 mn passengers

Singapore's Changi Airport said Thursday it had enjoyed its busiest year in 2012, handling a record 51.2 million passengers, underscoring its position as a regional aviation hub.

"Passenger traffic for the year totalled 51.2 million, increasing by 10.0 percent over the whole of 2011," Changi Airport Group (CAG) said in a statement.

It was the first time in the airport's 31-year history that the number of people passing through had crossed 50 million, CAG said, adding that the rise came despite economic woes in Europe. Its previous record of 46.5 million passengers was seen in 2011.

"Despite weak market conditions in the eurozone, there was encouraging improvement in demand for travel to and from Europe. In 2012, passenger traffic between Singapore and Europe grew 7.5 percent," it said.

Changi was voted the second-best airport in the world by Airports Council International in 2012, behind Seoul's Incheon.

"Changi continued to experience strong growth in the South Asia, Northeast Asia, Southeast Asia and Southwest Pacific regions, accentuating its position as a key air hub in Asia-Pacific," the operator said.

The busiest route the airport served last year by passenger traffic was to and from Jakarta, followed by Hong Kong, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur and Manila.

CAG chief executive Lee Seow Hiang said "2012 was indeed a good year for us".

He added: "In spite of the economic challenges faced by the aviation industry, we stayed nimble and worked extremely closely with our partners.

"In the near term, Changi Airport's performance will depend largely on how quickly markets recover from the (global economic) slowdown."

As at 1 January 2013, Changi Airport handles more than 6,500 weekly scheduled flights with 110 airlines connecting Singapore to 240 cities in 60 countries.

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