Singapore’s Changi Airport Seeks Growth With Gold, Tuna

By Kyunghee Park | Source: Bloomberg

Changi Airport, Southeast Asia’s largest freight airfield, plans to attract more gold bars, tuna and vaccines to Singapore as it seeks to increase handling of high-value cargo to make up for slowing trade.

The airport may process 7 percent more cargo by volume for pharmaceutical products such as vaccine and test drugs, as well as perishable goods including tuna and meat this year, James Fong, assistant vice president of cargo and logistics development at Changi Airport Group (Singapore) Pte. Drugs are one of the three biggest items handled by value, he said.

“An underlying demand for these things is growing with the rise of the Asian middle class,” Fong said in a May 15 interview. “People want higher-value, higher-quality food. Demand in North Asia is growing fast.”

The airport is offering 50 percent rebates on landing fees since the start of the year to help cargo airlines struggling with lower demand amid sluggish economies in the U.S. and Europe. Changi is enticing carriers of high-yield cargo with a tax-free maximum-security vault to store valuable art, gold and gems, as well as Southeast Asia’s biggest refrigerated facilities for perishable goods.

Economic growth in the Asia-Pacific region will boost household incomes, increasing the need for higher-quality food and luxury items, Fong said. The size of the middle class may jump almost fivefold in 20 years, according to Airbus SAS.

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