Singapore Changi Airport

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Continent: Asia Country: Singapore
Singapore Changi Airport
Location Changi, Singapore
IATA code SIN
ICAO code WSSS
Airport type Commercial
Website http://www.changiairport.com/
Overview map Google Maps
Communications
Tower 118.25MHz, 118.60MHz
Ground 121.72MHz, 124.30MHz, 121.85MHz
Clearance 121.65MHz
Approach 120.30MHz
Departure
ATIS 128.60MHz
CTAF/Unicom
Plane Spotting Hotels guide


Official Spotting Locations

There are public viewing areas located within all three terminals, all of which are air-conditioned and provide ample seating, with restaurants and restrooms available in close proximity.

Terminal 1 Viewing Mall

This area is the only public place within the airport terminals where you can have a clear view of aircraft movements in air-conditioned comfort. It provides a clear view of the central apron, as well as movements along the three North Cross taxiways. Aircraft parked at the remote bays off the terminal, the cargo terminal and at SIAEC hangars are also visible from a distance, although the many obstacles make a full, unblocked view of the aircraft there impossible. From a distance, 20R and 20C approaches, 02L and 02C departures and 20R lineups for departure are visible.

The most common airlines using central apron gates are AirAsia and Jetstar, although a variety of airlines use these gates on a regular basis as well. It is advisable to check the gates of the flights online at the airport website (information is usually online up to three to 12 hours before) as on some days there are very few flights using the central apron whilst on other days it can be full house there.

The viewing mall is located on level 3, one floor above the departure hall. Escalators and lifts to the viewing mall are located at the centre of the Departure Hall.

Lens: Any lens will probably net you some decent shots. Photographing aircraft at the closest gate will take up to 24mm on a full-frame sensor, while movements on the North Cross would require about 180mm for a 777 to 270mm for a 737 or smaller. Photography of aircraft is best when the aircraft are located inside the central apron or on North Cross 3, as North Cross 1 and 2 are often shrouded in heat haze from nearby aircraft.

Facilities: Restrooms, seating areas, water dispenser, air conditioning. Restaurants available nearby.

Opening Hours: Open 24 hours, admission is free.

Terminal 2 Aviation Gallery

This viewing area houses the Changi Aviation Gallery, which has exhibits and information on the ground operations of the airport. The glass windows offer views of the Terminal 2 central apron, as well as movements on 20C/02C. However, this location is unsuitable for photography because the glass is tinted green and the transit mall extends under the viewing mall, effectively placing two layers of glass in front of you. The relatively small size of the viewing mall also means that it tends to get crowded often, especially on weekends. There are many restaurants on the same level, which you will pass by before you get to the viewing mall.

The Aviation Gallery is located on level 3, one floor above the departure hall. Escalators are located between Immigration North and South, near check-in rows 5 and 6 and rows 7 and 8. There are signs that will guide you to the location.

Opening Hours: 6am to midnight, admission is free.

Terminal 3 Aviation Gallery

The Terminal 3 Aviation Gallery features exhibits and information on the flying operations of the airport. The Gallery is enclosed in glass offering a view of the departures lounge on one side and the tarmac on the other. Movements on 20R/02L, the main arrivals runway, are also readable. However, just like at Terminal 2, the transit lounge extends beyond the viewing mall, thus the two layers of glass make this location unsuitable for photography.

The viewing mall is located on level 4, two floors above the departure hall. There are four escalators to access the viewing mall, two at the central immigration area (between rows 4 - 5 and 6 - 7) and two at the ends of the green wall (near row 1 and row 11). There are signs to guide you.

Opening Hours: 6am to midnight, admission is free.

Transit Malls

If you have a flight to catch, the transit malls (post-immigration) will offer you one of the best locations to spot, giving you close views of aircraft parked at the gates. At all three terminals now, some aircraft can be just a few metres from the glass. Your best bet will be to walk in a straight line after clearing immigration (you will have to walk around the shops sometimes) to reach the floor-to-ceiling glass panels where you can get a good view of the planes. Terminals 1, 2 and 3 are connected by skytrain so you can hop around terminals to spot if time permits. Walking between terminals is another option. There are also plenty of shops and restaurants in the terminal. There are different things to take note of in each terminal, as written below.

Terminal 1

Terminal 1 has recently received an upgrade and now features full-height glass panels similar to those at Terminals 2 and 3. Most of the panels have a slight tint except a few which are untinted. The glass panels face the central apron and give a similar view to the public viewing mall one level above, except from a lower angle.

Terminal 2

There are big glass panels spanning the height of the terminal here for the entire length of the central apron. You can also see gate F31, the first gate to be A380-ready, and its three jetways from here. The gate right next to the glass sees only A320 and B737s, but even then their wingtips come close to the glass. This place is very well lit at night, especially the colourful shop signs, so do watch out for reflections. There is also a very useful ledge (which is actually the glass panel frame) which can be used for a tripod at night, or a support to stabilise your shots in the day, and is wide enough to accomodate a DSLR and certain lenses. Movements on the T2 central apron, as well as on 20C/02C can be seen from here. Do note that the glass is tinted green, and it can affect your pictures, so watch your colours closely. Spotting is best done in the afternoon.

Terminal 3

Like Terminal 2, large glass panels span the height of the terminal. Down here you can see 20R/02L movements, as well as planes parked at the gates in front of the glass. The A380 parks at the A-gates in front of the glass every day. Do note that the glass is tinted green, and it can affect your pictures, so watch your colours closely. Spotting is best done in the morning.

Other Spotting Locations

Changi Beach Park

This is the best place to spot aircraft arriving on runway 20R and 20C. Generally, aircraft using Terminals 1 or 3 or cargo aircraft use 20R, and aircraft using Terminal 2 and the Budget Terminal use 20C but there are often exceptions and 20R is more heavily used. The exception is during runway maintenance which would usually last 20-30 mins and arrival traffic would temporarily be diverted to the other runway. Runway maintenance only occurs once every 6-7 hours. As the landing path is such that the plane's entire body will face the sun, it is important to know where to position yourself to get a sunlit shot of the aircraft. The park has a walking path which you can use to find the best position before walking onto the shore to spot. Runway 20R/20C is usually used between March-October after which landings are changed to 02L/02C due to seasonal wind changes. Check the weather report before heading to the location to avoid disappointment, otherwise you may have to rush to the other end at Changi Business Park by taxi (if you don't drive) at a cost of about SGD10 one way.

In the morning: For 20R arrivals it would be best to go to carpark 5. Depending on your lens you can walk around to align yourself in the best spot. For 20C you can try carpark 7 although the angle will be a little awkward and slightly more difficult to shoot.

02L departures are also possible to photograph but this may be a hit-or-miss thing depending on the runway usage as 02L is not often used for departures. Most planes also tend to climb rather early so you will be mostly limited to under-belly shots.

In the afternoon/evening: For 20R arrivals go to the beach area from carparks 2 to 3. You can position yourself along the beach for your desired angle. 20C arrivals are best shot from the beach after carpark 6.

The area around Carpark 4 is best for head-on shots.

Lens: You will need a focal length of around 50mm to 150mm depending on where you stand and the size of the aircraft. A lens of 300mm or more will get you some nice closeups. A longer lens will also allow you more side-on shots instead of mostly showing the underbelly.

Transport: SBS Transit operates public bus services 9, 19 and 89 which service the bus stops near carparks 1 to 5. You will need a car or taxi to get to carpark 6 or 7, however finding a taxi to take you out will not be easy.

Facilities: Toilets available at carparks 2 and 6.

Notes: 1. Listening to VHF radios is illegal. Please do not bring or use such equipment. 2. Do not point your lens toward or attempt to view or photograph the airport fenceline, CAFHI and SAF jetties or the craft parked there.


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Changi Business Park

This is the best place to spot aircraft arriving on runway 02L, in most cases most aircraft would land on this runway between October-February. As this area is more built up than Changi Beach Park, finding a spot which has an unobstructed view might be difficult so I have listed down one of the unobstructed locations. You will have to do some walking from Expo MRT to reach the unobstructed spots. Spotting best done in the afternoon.

Lens: 80 to 250mm will do fine for most arrivals, 300mm up needed for closeups or the occasional business jet.

Transport: Nearest train station is Expo (CG1). From there, a 15 minute walk is required to reach the best locations in CBP.

Facilities: None. Restrooms and restaurants available at Singapore Expo.

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Locations to Avoid

Changi Coast Road

Changi Coast Road runs parallel to the eastern perimeter of Changi Airport as well as the main departures runway 20C/02C. However, there are two layers of perimeter fencing preventing a clear view of the airport. Photography along the fence line is not permitted and you will be quickly moved on by airport police. It is also not advisable to park along the Changi Coast Road as you will be obstructing fast-flowing traffic. It is highly recommended that you do not spot or photograph from this location.

South Cross

Toward the south of the airport there is a pedestrian bridge over Airport Boulevard that runs parallel to the two South Cross taxiways. Since June 2016 photography on the South Cross pedestrian bridge is not permitted and clear No Photography signs have been posted on the bridge. You are advised not to use this location for spotting or photography. Loitering on the bridge should also be avoided.

Scheduled Traffic

Terminal 1

AirAsia (A320 daily)
Air China (A319, A330-300 daily)
Air France (777-300ER daily)
Air Mauritius (A330-200)
Air Niugini (767-300ER)*
Bangkok Airways (A319 daily)*
Biman Bangladesh Airlines (737-800 daily)
British Airways (777-300ER daily, A380 daily)
Cathay Pacific Airways (A330-300/777-300/A350-900 daily, 777-200, 777-300ER)
China Southern Airlines (A320/A321 daily, 737-800)
Delta Airlines (767-300ER daily)*
Drukair (A319)
Emirates (A380, 777-300ER daily)
Finnair (A350-900 daily)
Indonesia AirAsia (A320 daily)
Japan Airlines (767-300ER, 777-200ER daily)
Jetstar Airways International (787-8)
Jetstar Asia Airways (A320 daily)
Jetstar Pacific (A320 daily)
KLM Royal Dutch Airlines (777-300ER daily)
Myanmar Airways International (A320 daily)
Myanmar National Airlines (737-800)
Philippine Airlines (A319/A320 daily)
Qantas Airways (A330-200/300 daily, 737-800 daily)
Regent Airways (737-700)
Shenzhen Airlines (737-800 daily)
Thai AirAsia (A320 daily)
Thai Airways International (777-200/300 daily, occasional 787-8, A330-300, A350-900)
Turkish Airlines (A330-300 daily)
Uzbekistan Airlines (767-300ER)
Xiamen Airlines (737-800 daily)

Terminal 2

Air India (787-8 daily)
Air India Express (737-800 daily)
All Nippon Airways (787-9 and 777-300ER daily)
Cebu Pacific Air (A319/A320 daily)
Etihad Airways (787-9 daily)
Firefly (ATR72 daily)
IndiGo (A320 daily)*
Korean Air (777-300/A330-300 daily, occasional 748-8i)
Lao Airlines (A320)
Lufthansa German Airlines (A380 daily)
Malaysia Airlines (737-800 daily)
Royal Brunei Airlines (A319 daily, occasional 787-8)
Scoot (787-8, 787-9, A319, A320 daily)
SilkAir (A319, A320, 737-800 daily)
Singapore Airlines (A330-300, A350-900, A380-800, 777-200/200ER/300/300ER daily)
Swiss International Air Lines (777-300ER daily)
Tigerair Taiwan (A320 daily)
United Airlines (777-200ER and 787-9 daily)

Terminal 3

Air New Zealand (787-9 daily)
Asiana Airlines (A330-300 daily)
Batik Air (A320 daily)
China Airlines (A330-300, 737-800 daily, A350-900 seasonally)
China Eastern Airlines (A319, A320, A330-200, 767-300 daily)
EVA Air (777-300ER daily)
Garuda Indonesia (A330-200 and 737-800 daily)
Jet Airways (A330-200, 737-800, 777-300ER daily)
Lion Air (737-800/900 daily)
Malindo Air (737-800 daily, 737-900ER)
Oman Air (A330-300 daily)
Qatar Airways (A350-900 daily)
Saudi Arabian Airlines (777-300ER)
Singapore Airlines (A330-300, A350-900, A380-800, 777-200/200ER/300/300ER daily)
SriLankan Airlines (A320/A321 daily)
Thai Lion Air (737-800 daily)
VietJet Air (A320 daily)
Vietnam Airlines (A321 daily)

Cargo

AeroLogic (777F)
Air Hong Kong (747-400F)
ANA Cargo (767-300F)
Asiana Cargo (747-400F)
Cardig Air (737-300F)
Cargolux (747-400F/747-8F)
Cathay Pacific Cargo (747-400F)
China Airlines Cargo (747-400F)
China Cargo Airlines (777F)
Emirates SkyCargo (777F)
EVA Cargo (747-400F)
Federal Express (A310F, 777F, MD-11F)
Hong Kong Airlines Cargo (A330-200F)
Martinair (747-400F)
Nippon Cargo Airlines (747-400F)
Polar Air Cargo (747F)
Raya Airways (757F)
Singapore Airlines Cargo (747-400F)
TNT Airways (777F)
Tri-MG Intra-Asia Airlines (737F)
Turkish Airlines (A330-200F)
United Parcel Service (767-300F)

The actual arrival and departure times of cargo airlines often vary from the scheduled timed. Check the airport website or teletext for updated flight information.

Airlines with night flight operations only marked with (*)

Facilities and Transportation

Changi Airport

Changi Airport is easily accessible by public transport.

MRT:
The MRT (train/subway system) is a quick and comfortable way to get to the airport. From the city, board the East-West Line (green line) train to Tanah Merah Station (EW4). This takes about 20 mimutes. From there, transfer to the airport-bound train at the middle platform, which takes you to the airport in about 8 minutes. The train frequency is about 6mins (4mins during peak periods) for the East-West line and 12 mins for the airport line. The MRT station is located between Terminal 2 and 3, and you can exit to either terminal. An free skytrain system for both the public and transit passengers connects Terminals 1, 2 and 3. Directional signs to the exits are visible once you arrive. A one-way trip will cost about SGD2.90 inclusive of a SGD1.00 refundable deposit for the ticket. There are system and location maps in every station, as well as travel information such as the travel time to a station.

Public bus
Public bus services also run from the city and many town centres islandwide. The bus services will stop at each terminal(located at the basement level), calling at Terminal 3 first, then Terminal 1, and Terminal 2 before heading back to its destination of origin. Information on bus services is available at the bus terminals at the airport. Fares are about SGD0.90 to SGD1.80 by a contactless card or cash, depending on the distance travelled. Bus services available are SBS Transit 24, 27, 34, 36, 53 and SMRT 858. Bus service frequencies range from 6mins to 15mins depending on the time of boarding.

Taxi
Metered taxis can be flagged down along the streets and from airport taxi stands. However, in the business district, you can only board or alight at taxi stands. Also, taxis will not stop to pick up or alight passengers on roads where bus lanes are in effect. Fares start from SGD2.80 and increase with distance. Surcharges apply during certain times(such as morning/evening peak periods and after midnight, or when boarding from certain places). A surcharge of SGD3 or SGD5 (depending on the time of boarding) applies for all trips originating from the airport. Detailed fare information can be found in every taxi.

Facilities: Fully air-conditioned areas, restaurants and restrooms available. Car parking available.

Outdoor Locations

Changi Beach Park
SBS Transit operates public bus services 9 (from Bedok), 19 (from Tampines) and 89 (from Hougang) to Changi Beach Park. You may also take SBS Transit services 2 (from Outram Park), 29 (from Tampines), 59 (from Bishan) and 109 (from Serangoon) to Changi VIllage and walk to Changi Beach Park.

From the airport, you may follow this route:

  1. Take Bus Service 34 from the Airport to Tampines Avenue 7 Block 497D Bus Stop (it's near a petrol kiosk)
  2. Cross the road to the other side from the overhead bridge
  3. Take Bus Service 9 or 19 to Changi Beach Park

Do note that the buses 9, 19 and 89 will make a loop at the Airport Cargo Complex, a restricted area accessible only by those with valid passes, so alight before reaching the SAF Jetty and cross the road to take the bus out of Changi Beach area.

Just a 10 minute walk from the beach is Changi Village which has many restaurants and a hawker center which serves a multitude local delights at resonable prices. There is a hotel called Changi VIllage Hotel located very close to the beach so if you plan to do most spotting at Changi Beach, it is advisable to stay there, there is also an Italian Restaurant located at the top floor of the hotel which offers lovely views of aircraft landing while dining (this is even more lovely during sunset), if you are a guest, the hotel also includes complimentary shuttle services to the city center.

You may also take a metered taxi to Changi Beach Park.

Facilities: Restrooms and food & beverage kiosk available at the area between Car Park 1 and 2. Car parking available.

Changi Business Park
The nearest MRT station is Expo (CG1). Take the East-West Line (green line) to Tanah Merah station (EW4) and transfer to the airport-bound train at the middle platform. From the MRT station, it is a 10-15 minute walk to the spots at Changi Business Park. This location is best accessed by car. You may also take a metered taxi to Changi Business Park, however hailing one for your return trip will not be easy and you may have to walk to Expo station.

Facilities: Restrooms and restaurants available at Singapore Expo.

All other locations are best accessed by car. You can also hire a taxi to take you there, but it is often difficult to find one to take you out after spotting as these tend to be quiet areas, especially during weekends.

Things to Note

Weather

There is no dangerous weather here, but a rather big problem for spotters in tropical Singapore is the frequent and often unpredictable showers. Rain showers can last anything from ten minutes to a few days non-stop (especially so during the rainy season). A check with the weather forecast before you head off will be good, especially if you have limited time as many locations require nearly an hour of travel time each way if going by public transport, especially the public bus. If there is lightning and thunder, take shelter and do not go outdoors until the storm is over.

Changi Beach Area

Changi Village, near Changi Beach has some "red-light" activity by the wee hours of the night. Changi Beach can be quite quiet at night especially on weekdays. While it cannot be considered unsafe, you might not want to venture out to Changi Beach Park too late at night unless you are staying at Changi Village Hotel or are camping at the park (permits are required, camping allowed at some areas only).

Security

Changi Airport is designated a Protected Place and is patrolled regularly by police and security personnel. Photography at the perimeter is not tolerated and police/security will move you on very quickly. Please help to keep our hobby legal by not attempting to photograph the airport compound or airplanes from the perimeter or at the South Cross. Keep you ID with you and if approached by police/security, explain politely what you are doing if asked and comply with all instructions and you should be fine.