The government is demanding the public pay close to 100 percent more in passenger service fees to fund the development of the new Terminal 5– which will only be ready 12 years later.
But Singaporeans, and even the International Air Transport Association, are having none of that, condemning the move as unfair.
Second Minister for Transport Ng Chee Meng said in parliament today during the Committee of Supply debate that charging such a levy for the development of T5 and Changi East projects before they are operational means passengers will avoid large spikes in fees later on.
That explanation left many aghast at his explanation, which they say “defies logic”.
Said Daniel Lim:
“I would say it is only fair if you charge others per use basis. For example a toll highway. It is not fair to charge user for future development which they may not get to use at all. If we are paying for such future development, isn’t it we are subsidising the future user part of their charges?”
Some like David Tan have questioned why the burden should fall on Singaporeans today, who are already squeezed by rising costs such as the recent 30 percent water price hike.
“Shouldn’t it be who use who pay? Now we not only have to save the reserves for our future generations, we also have to pay in advance for future passengers, standby for increase in MRT rides, road charges etc…”
And of course, possibly the most epic response ever:
“The “Changi Experience” is what distinguishes Changi from all other airports around the world… T5 will allow better integration of airport operations … It will benefit passengers like you and me by offering quicker access to boarding gates and convenient transfers. The ‘Changi Experience’ will be further enhanced and new standards for passenger experience will be set.”
He said that “Given the importance of the air hub to Singapore, we need to strike the right balance, and keep charges for airlines and passengers at a level that will ensure that Changi remains competitive.”
The International Air Transport Association has condemned the Singapore government’s move to charge travellers today to fund the T5 and Changi East developments, calling the levy “disappointing”.
It said that the industry is against pre-funding for infrastructure projects, where passengers and airlines have to pay for services and facilities they do not currently utilise.
“It is unfair to expect passengers and airlines to pay in advance for a facility they may or may not use in the future when the facility is ready. It also goes against the International Civil Aviation Organization’s (ICAO) charging principle of cost relatedness – where passengers and airlines are charged for the cost of services actually used.”
The IATA said that it is “still disappointed” with the decision to proceed with the charges “despite the feedback provided by the industry”.
In 2018, traffic through Changi Airport is projected to grow between 3.5 per cent and 5.5 per cent.
In the coming years, traffic growth is expected to be at 3 per cent to 4 per cent each year.