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Singapore to build 4th terminal for international airport as budget airline travel burgeons

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SINGAPORE - Singapore plans to add a fourth terminal to its international airport, boosting the number of passengers it can handle to 82 million a year as low cost airlines burgeon in the region.

Changi International Airport said Friday that construction of the 600 million Singapore dollars ($485 million) terminal will begin in the fourth quarter of this year and be completed by 2017. It will spend a further S$680 million on airfield infrastructure, aircraft parking spots and security.

The airport said the terminal will handle narrow-body aircraft that are predominantly used by low cost carriers. Its design would allow it to be also used by full service airlines.

Singapore last year closed its much maligned budget terminal, which had a capacity of only 4.6 million passengers and few facilities such as shops.

Low cost airlines have blossomed in Asia the past few years as incomes rise and demand for affordable travel increases. Aviation analysts say budget airlines have accounted for almost all the growth in passengers at Changi in the past several years.

The new terminal, which will be built on the site of the mothballed budget terminal, is expected to handle up to 16 million passengers annually.

Some 51.2 million passengers passed through Changi last year.

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