Coronavirus: 'World's best airport' warns of prolonged crisis


Singapore’s Changi Airport has warned of a “daunting period” ahead as the impact from the Covid-19 pandemic shows no signs of abating.

Changi has suspended operations in two terminals as flights have dropped to the lowest levels in its history. It has also suspended the construction of a fifth terminal for at least two years.

“The battle with Covid-19 has only just begun,” Changi Airport Group said in its annual report. “The future does appear daunting with the situation showing no signs of abatement.”

Last year, Changi Airport opened Jewel, a shopping and entertainment complex covering 1.5m square feet (14ha). It includes stores and attractions including a rainforest, hedge maze and the world’s highest indoor waterfall.

This new complex has helped cushion the blow from the downturn in visitors, boosting revenue 2.6% to S$3.1bn. “Jewel is a new icon for Singapore and has redefined what it means to be an airport,” Changi Airport Group added.

But the group still paints a grim picture of the international travel hub and says the recovery is “highly dependent on how countries around the world manage border controls, the relaxation of air travel requirements and the development of viable medical treatments for the virus.”

Last week, US airlines began laying off thousands of workers after efforts to negotiate a new economic relief plan in Congress stalled.

And this month the aviation trade body, the International Air Transport Association (IATA), downgraded its 2020 traffic forecasts, after “a dismal end to the summer travel season”.

Today's Vocabulary

1. downturn (n) 
a reduction in the amount or
success of something, such as a country’s economic activity

2. barred (v)
to prevent
something or someone from doing something or going somewhere, or to not allow something

3. hub (n) 
central or main part of something where there is most activity

4. stalled (v) 
delay taking action or avoid giving an answer in order to have more time to make a decision or get an advantage

5. dismal (adj.) 
sad and without hope

6. daunting (adj.) 
making you
feel slightly frightened or worried about your ability to achieve something

7. abatement (n) 
reduction in the amount or degree of something

  1. According to the article, what has Changi Airport suspended?

  2. What is Jewel?

  3. What has Jewel had?

  4. What is the name of an aviation trade body?
  1. What do you like and dislike about airports? Why?

  2. Do you think air transportation is the best way to travel? Why or Why not?

  3. What is your most interesting airport experience?

  4. If you were to travel through an airport in the near future, how would you prepare?

  5. How efficient are the local airports in your country?