Changi Airport was recently ranked the best airport in the world by the Skytrax World Airport Awards from the UK. This is the seventh time in the world that Singapore’s main international air travel hub has been accorded this distinction by that award-giving body. And as a good example to all that would be called the best of all the rest in many different fields, Changi Airport keeps its top rank by always bettering itself. This can be encapsulated in its newest Terminal 4, as well as the special connecting hub for Terminals 1 to 3 that had been under construction these past four years.
As CNN tells it, the Jewel Changi Airport complex finally opened its doors this Wednesday, April 17. Starting that day, travellers passing through the world’s 7-time best airport according to Skytrax can finally see with their own eyes what was originally only concept imagery. With a budget of SG$1.7 billion (or US$1.27 billion), Changi Airport created a spectacular commercial complex with five stories above ground and another five subterranean. The surface structure is notable for being shaped like a glass and steel donut. The center of this is a multi-tiered garden venue with the Jewel’s crowning feature: an artificial waterfall.
This is the HSBC Rain Vortex, a circular cascade that exits through the Jewel’s central oculus, falling down an impressive 40 meters to the pool below, while generating air moisture that is good for the plants around it. Such is the sound of the falling water that it can be heard even beyond the garden zone, well into the various commercial shopping and dining areas that is the other main draw of the Jewel complex. Already the Rain Vortex is being touted to be the world’s tallest artificial indoor waterfall.
Probably the best thing about the Changi Jewel is that it is openly accessible to everyone dropping in at the airport. As it is not a terminal visitors are allowed everywhere in there that guests are permitted to go. There are accommodation options too in the form of the YOTELAIR Singapore Changi Airport hotel, offering early check-ins, baggage storage and 130 rooms for travellers waiting for flights. Most of the complex is covered by free sign-up Wi-Fi and power bank loans. It is also testing the Changi Lounge passenger transfer service between the airport and cruise ships, a great convenience. The Jewel cinema has 11 movie theaters too, all IMAX.
Being an inter-terminal hub, guests inside the Jewel can see the Skytrain connecting the first three terminals passing overhead, inside the complex. The newer Terminal 4 must contend with a bus shuttle service for now.
With the Changi Jewel up and running, the airport’s future plans can now shift to a proposed Terminal 5 (with a floor area combining Terminals 1-4), as well as a five-year expansion for Terminal 2. Terminal 5 will not be finished until the year 2030.
Image from The Straits Times