Natalie Marsh speaks to Jayson Goh, managing director of airport operations management at Singapore’s Changi airport, which this year opened Jewel, a nature‑themed entertainment and retail complex.

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Q. What does your job involve?
A. My team is responsible for passenger operations at Changi airport, which includes the passenger journey, facility management and the enhancement of our terminals. Beyond delivering the functional services of an efficient airport, we strive to make the airport a stress-free environment and a destination in its own right. For example, we have cultivated a variety of gardens in our terminals, and we have more than 10 art installations across the airport.

Q. What was the inspiration for Jewel, the airport’s new retail complex – boasting the world’s tallest indoor waterfall – that opened earlier this year?
A. Changi airport’s passenger traffic has grown steadily in the past decade, averaging 5.4% per annum. In 2018 alone, we served more than 65 million passengers. The space that Jewel sits on today was formerly an open-air car park at Terminal 1, and to optimise land use and further enhance the travel experience, an idea came about to transform the car park into a 10-storey lifestyle destination. Jewel has gardens, attractions, shops, dining, a hotel and more, and it has improved Changi airport’s appeal as a stopover destination for travellers.

Q. Many parents are reluctant to travel long-haul – what advice would you have for them?
A. It’s never easy for families travelling long-haul with young children, but we have many family-friendly attractions and facilities. There are eight themed gardens across Terminals 1 to 4, and a Butterfly Garden in Terminal 3 where children can learn about the life cycle of a butterfly. There are also play areas for children of all ages – the Canopy Park at Jewel has a 250m-long bouncy net and Singapore’s largest indoor Hedge Maze, to name just a few. We also recently opened the Changi Experience Studio, which offers immersive shows and interactive exhibits – kids absolutely love the Amazing Runway where they can form two teams to race a Porsche 911 GT3 against a Boeing 747 jet!

Q. How many travellers connecting through Changi take up the offer of a free city tour, and what do they see?
A. Changi’s Free Singapore Tour programme allows transiting passengers with a layover of at least five-and-a-half hours an opportunity to see our city-state on one of three guided tours lasting two-and-a-half hours. In 2018 alone, more than 79,000 passengers took this up. The Heritage Tour route takes passengers to cultural districts like Chinatown, Little India, Kampong Glam and Singapore’s iconic Merlion Park. Passengers who opt for the City Sights Tour can see the city skyline of modern Singapore and visit the Avatar-like Supertrees at Gardens by the Bay. The latest addition to this programme is the Jewel Tour route, where passengers can discover Jewel’s lush greenery and the majestic Rain Vortex, the world’s tallest indoor waterfall.

Jayson’s top tip

Look out for Changi Firsts, a series of exclusive launches and pop-ups by big brands, allowing travellers to get their hands on the latest products ahead of everyone else.

Q. What tips do you have for flyers to feel refreshed on arrival?
A. Personally, I try to squeeze in a workout before taking a long‑haul flight. Aerobic or stretching exercises are particularly useful and I find that it helps me to be more relaxed during the journey. Another basic but important tip is to keep hydrated before and during the flight.

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