The Korea Herald


[From the Scene] Jewel Changi offers glimpse of how to make airport fun

By Lee Yoon-seo

Published : Nov. 23, 2023 - 17:28

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Water falls through the HSBC Rain Vortex at Jewel Changi Airport, Singapore, Thursday. (Yonhap) Water falls through the HSBC Rain Vortex at Jewel Changi Airport, Singapore, Thursday. (Yonhap)

SINGAPORE -- A picturesque scene unfolds at the Jewel Changi Airport -- a lush entertainment and retail complex hemmed in and connected to Changi Airport, the main gateway to Singapore.

The metallic-hued automated people mover dubbed the Changi Airport Skytrain smoothly glides across a rail standing high off the ground to carry the passengers to their destinations in an average of four minutes.

Across from the rail on which the APM leisurely transports passengers, water pours down with thunderous sounds from a dome-shaped roof. The facility, some 40 meters tall, is the world's tallest indoor waterfall, dubbed the HSBC Rain Vortex.

Surrounding the open space in which the HSBC Rain Vortex is situated is Shiseido Forest Valley, a towering four-story landscape decorated with thousands of trees and plants, reminding one of having stepped into a forest.

This nature-themed entertainment and retail complex at Jewel Changi Airport went beyond eye catching scenes.

It was able to not only increase its total passenger handling capacity from 21 million passengers per annum to 24 million passengers per annum, but also attract non-travelers and significantly bump up Changi Airport's non-aeronautical business. Non-aeronautical income refers to an airport's revenue gleaned from the operations of businesses such as duty-free and food and beverage services.

In order to benchmark the success of Changi Airport's optimization of airport space and simultaneous operation of an entertainment complex, as well as its status as an internationally renowned airport, Incheon International Airport Corp. CEO Lee Hag-jae on Thursday toured the facility.

"By establishing Paradise City and Inspire, which are two large-scale casino complexes, along with attractions such as a racing park (at Incheon Airport), Incheon Airport will aim to provide entertainment to its passengers and transit passengers," said Lee through a written Q&A.

"In particular, Incheon Airport will serve as a unique 'cultural arts' airport by fostering an airport art fair based on its storage of premium art collections," he added.

According to him, through implementing such facilities and services, Incheon Airport is likely to see an exponential increase in its economic value added, including a production inducement effect worth 15.3 trillion won ($1.7 billion) and a job creation effect of 53,000 people, by 2030.

"(Once such facilities are completed), we expect to bump up tourism demand linked to Incheon and have Incheon Airport rise as the center of the greater Seoul economy," he said.

According to a survey carried out by UK-based airline and airport consultancy Skytrax titled "The World’s Top 10 Airports of 2023," Incheon Airport ranked fourth place. Changi Airport took first place and was named the World’s Best Airport for the 12th time.