Singapore Airport Passengers Up 15 Pct

April 25, 2012

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Singapore's Changi Airport handled 4.28 million passengers in March, the highest for the month, as the Southeast Asian city-state draws visitors looking for leisure and business opportunities.

Last month, the Economist Intelligence Unit ranked Singapore as the world's third most-competitive city, behind New York and London and ahead of Paris, Hong Kong, Tokyo and Zurich.

March passenger traffic at Changi, Asia's second largest after Hong Kong, jumped 15.3 percent from a year ago. But cargo movement fell 1.8 percent to 163,170 tonnes in March.

The small island of just 5.2 million people, a third of them foreigners, is eyeing resources firms to expand its regional role as it competes with the vast and increasingly sophisticated output of Chinese factories and with Hong Kong in financial services.

In the first three months of this year, Changi chalked up 12.3 million passenger movements, up 12.9 percent from a year ago.

"Traffic growth was underpinned by strong travel demand to and from Europe, Middle East, South Asia, Northeast Asia and Southeast Asia, regions which saw double-digit growth," Changi said in a statement on Wednesday.

Changi, which caters to about 100 airlines, is building a new terminal to cope with booming passenger traffic, with Singapore projecting up to a 10 percent rise in visitor arrivals to 14.5 million this year.

The airport is a base for many carriers including Singapore Airlines and Tiger Airways.