Welcome, fellow travelers and history enthusiasts, to an extraordinary journey through the past, present, and future of one of the world’s most iconic airports – Changi Airport in Singapore. Prepare to be captivated by the story of visionary leadership, unwavering determination, and the relentless pursuit of excellence that gave birth to this world-class aviation hub. In this travel blog, to step into ‘The Courage to Dream – The Making of the Changi Airport Story,’ an exhibition that commemorates the legendary journey of Changi Airport’s creation.
The Beginning of a Dream (1960s to 2000s)
The journey begins in the 1960s, stepping back in time to witness the early days of Singapore’s aviation history. In Chapter 1: “Growing Pains,” explore the challenges faced by residents living near Paya Lebar Airport, where flight paths disrupted their daily lives. It was here that the first mention of Changi as a potential airport location was made by Mr. Lee Kuan Yew, then Prime Minister. You can even listen to the actual audio clip of this historic moment.
Chapter 2: “Dreams are Made of Struggles” delves into the complexities of transitioning from Paya Lebar to Changi. Visitors can relive the dilemmas faced by Mr. Lee and his leadership team as they weighed various significant trade-offs. It was a decision fraught with challenges, including impact on the surroundings, expansion potential, time constraints, and costs.
The 1973 oil crisis brought an unexpected slowdown, providing time to revisit the Changi option. During a flight over Boston’s Logan Airport, Mr. Lee saw the offshore flight paths and realized the long-term benefits. This led to the formation of the Special Committee on Airport Development (SCAD) in 1975, chaired by Mr. Howe Yoon Chong, and ultimately, the green light for Changi Airport’s development.
The Making of Changi Airport (After 1977)
In Chapter 4: “Showtime: The Making of Changi Airport,” visitors can witness rare archival footage of Terminal 1’s construction and hear firsthand accounts from pioneering airport leaders. The chapter showcases key milestones leading up to Changi Airport’s grand opening on July 1, 1981, marking a new era in aviation history.
Putting Changi Airport on the World Map (2000s to Present Day)
In Chapter 5: “The Pursuit of Excellence,” you’ll discover the stories behind Changi Airport’s transformation into the world’s most awarded airport. Mr. Lee’s dedication to excellence is evident, from greening the airport to ensuring clean restrooms and efficient operations. His commitment to innovation continues to drive Changi Airport’s competitiveness, highlighted by the opening of Jewel Changi Airport in 2019.
The Future of Aviation (Beyond 2023)
Look ahead to the future in Chapter 6: “Building on the Dream,” and explore how decisions made decades ago are shaping the next chapter of Changi Airport. The foresight to invest in land reclamation in the 1990s laid the foundation for Changi East development, including the ambitious Terminal 5.
‘The Courage to Dream – The Making of the Changi Airport Story’ is an immersive experience filled with untold stories, rare archival content, and interactive displays. It takes visitors on a nostalgic journey from the 1970s to the present day, offering glimpses of the exciting future of aviation.
The exhibition is open to the public for free at Cloud9 Piazza, Level 5 of Jewel Changi Airport from 16 – 30 September. After this period, it will be relocated within the airport, with details to be announced later.