Singapore will suspend the construction of a major airport terminal for at least two years as global aviation struggles to recover from the coronavirus pandemic, the transport minister said Tuesday .
Khaw Boon Wan said the government will use the time to study how the industry will change after the pandemic , and to introduce new designs so the facility can meet future health and safety requirements .
Experts have suggested airlines must brace for changes more challenging than those that followed the 2001 Twin Tower attacks in the US .
Changi Airport ’s Terminal 5 , handling up to 50 million passengers a year in its initial phase , had been due for completion around 2030 .
The airline business has been badly hit by the pandemic, with industry experts not expecting traffic to return to 2019 levels before 2023 .
But Khaw said aviation , especially in Asia , was likely to recover despite uncertainty over the risk of fresh infections after countries ease restrictions .
Singapore had been studying what the aviation industry will look like in the coming years , he told an online meeting with students .
“That ’s why we have already decided that we will take a pause in the T 5 project… for two years to let us complete this study of the future of aviation .”
The minister said major changes are expected after the pandemic.
“I suspect that the T 5’ s current layout , the design may actually need some alterations to take into account some of these safety needs ,” he said .
Singapore , a regional aviation hub , has already closed two of its four existing airport terminals after international air travel plunged due to the pandemic .