This article is a continuation from the previous one on Seletar Airport. I have been reading Alexander Fraters book called ‘Beyond the Blue Horizon” as mentioned in my earlier blog on this book and he mentions a few things about Aviation history with respect to Singapore and Seletar. I have also added my research into this subject. For aviation history buffs, this is an interesting piece.
According to history, a French chap flew a biplane on a demonstration at Farrer Park Race Course. At the same venue, the first overseas Aircraft landed, flying in from the Britain after making numerous stops along the way, of course, in small biplanes. Later on, KLM and Imperial Airways (later became BOAC and later still British Airways) used to do the England to Australia flights with a stop over in Singapore.
The early records state that the first Imperial and KLM flights used to touch down in RAF Seletar after it was completed in 1929 and opened in 1930. RAF is for Royal Air Force and some old RAF buildings still stand and some are in use after passing down to the Singapore Air Force and subsequently in Civilian hands. In 1937, the operations moved to Singapore Marine and Land Airport at Kallang. This place was closed down in 1955 and the new Airport at Paya Lebar came into operation in that year. It seems that Singaporean Government decided that Paya Lebar would not suit the ultimate goal of a large Airport that would make Singapore a prime destination for World travelers and Changi then came into being and is what it is today.
Changi International Airport opened on 29th December 1981. Terminal 2 was added in 1990 and it has now been re-done, section by section, without anyone noticing the work and without any disruption to the flying public or Aircraft operations. Something worth emulating, in India, if ever this is possible. The Airport is equipped with Long Range radars and these are the things that show how that Government is serious on getting things done right, in advance, the first time around. Now, who can teach our politicians to the same? Are they educated enough, you think? Mrs. Vidya’s comment on my last blog prompts me to write more about development issues with respect to Singapore and I have managed to cover some of those things in a longish reply to her comment. Thank you Mrs. Vidya and I hope we can get some more anecdotes of your stay and life in Singapore.