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  • Writer's pictureGavin Ang

2022: A Year In Review

Updated: Jan 2, 2023

As the year draws to a close, many organisations around the world are busy closing their financial books and wrapping up projects; for us here at Plane Portrait Aviation Media, we too would like to take a moment to look back at 2022 and reflect at how Singapore aviation has changed, and how the team has evolved over the year.

Singapore Airshow 2022

Without a doubt, the greatest highlight of the year was the bi-annual Singapore Airshow held at the Changi Exhibition Center. since COVID-19 began nearly 2 years ago, the airshow was the first large scale event hosted in Singapore. While many health precautions were implemented, the event was a rounding success, and undoubtedly, signaled Singapore's transition towards her reopening.

The airshow opened with much fanfare, with more than 2 dozen aircraft slated for static or aerial displays, with much interest in the Boeing 777X, making her first debut in Asia, as well as the F-35 Lightning IIB. Additionally, the team was granted an exclusive opportunity by Boeing to visit the Boeing 777X on the ground during the airshow.

For more details of airshow, check out the array of articles the team had developed over the course of the event:

Reopening - from VTLs to Winter Schedules

At the beginning of the year, the full reopening of Singapore remained uncertain, with majority of travel being restricted to the Vaccinated Travel Lanes (VTLs) on routes like Germany, Australia and South Korea. However, as the months past, more and more countries were added to the list, and soon by March, many countries, including Singapore had removed most of their travel restrictions, which of course paved the way for many of us here at APP to go on long awaited vacations.

With the loosening of travel restrictions, airlines like Qantas and Garuda Indonesia began ramping up arrivals to Singapore, while low cost carriers like AirAsia and JejuAir began to reactivate their networks to Singapore, and Air New Zealand began to initiate regular services from Auckland. At the same time locally, Singapore Airlines and Scoot began to deactivate more of their fleet, with SQ's fleet of active A380s being fully utilised for routes to London, Sydney, Mumbai and the fifth freedom flight to New York via Frankfurt. Additionally, more airlines opted to initiate their routes to Singapore, like Air Premia, Aircalin and Zipair.

With the onset of the winter travel season, many airlines further increased the number of flights to Singapore, with the airport handling as much as 50 landings and takeoffs per hour or higher. This of course meant that some landings are spaced out as close as one minute apart, making go-around moments increasingly common. Additionally, airlines that normally operated during the night, also made daylight appearances in the daylight hours, like Korean Air and Asiana Airlines.

Supersizing and Specials

With travel booming across the world, and Changi Airport once again resuming its role as a major travel hub, many airlines have upsized their selection of aircraft coming to Singapore. Once example is Emirates, moving their usual after Boeing 777-300ERs to the morning slot, and upsizing their afternoon flights to the massive Airbus A380-800s, and a number of their special "Expo" livery aircraft graced the skies over Singapore.

Another airline to upsize their Singapore-bound flights is Qantas. After initially resuming their A330-300 and A330-200 flights from Sydney, Melbourne, Perth and Brisbane, they added their signature Sydney-Singapore-London route, utilising their A380-800s after reactivating them from storage. Likewise for the German airline Lufthansa, the winter schedule gave us an aircraft many of us have been waiting for: the Boeing 747-8i. And undoubtedly, the greatest highlight of it all was the first arrival of the Queen in retro livery: D-ABYT. Similarly, Air New Zealand moved from their Dreamliners to the Boeing 777s, and like all the upsizing of aircraft, it came with a special - the famed "All Blacks" 777-300ER.

After much anticipation, 2022 also brought us one of the most famed of all the retro liveries: The Boeing 777-300ER A7-BAC from Qatar Airways, in which many plane spotters flocked to Changi Beach or the Terminal 1 Viewing Mall to catch sight of the much sought after aircraft. More closer to home, our local low-cost carrier Scoot unveiled a beautiful new special livery on their Dreamliner 9V-OJJ in collaboration with Pokemon, the "Pikachu Jet" livery.

Military Movements

The French Air & Space Force touched down in Singapore on the 14th of September 2022. This stop was part of their multi-country deployment called Mission PEGASE. Aircraft that were involved in this deployment include 2 Airbus A330 MRTT, 3 Dassault Rafales an Airbus A400m. The stopover lasted from the 14th of September to the 16th of September. The deployment was poised to bolster the French's presence and diplomacy in the Asia-Pacific region.

The German Airforce also visited Singapore this year on the 15th of August as part of Rapid Pacific 2022. The deployment consisted of 6 Eurofighter, 4 A400M and 3 A330 MRTT.

Going Abroad - A Travel Summary

With the reopening, many of us finally got to travel out of the country, after effectively being stuck in Singapore for 2 years. Some of us got to travel for work, while most of us got to travel for our honeymoons, vacations or a chance to visit their hometown. Do check out our individual trip reports across the different airlines in the links below:

Developments in the Team

This year, we took on two new members to our APP Family - Sebastian & Jun You. Both are passionate aviation enthusiasts with real world experiences in the industry, along with an equally generous amounts of aviation photos taken over the years. It is our pleasure to welcome them both into our team, as friends and fellow team mates.

New Insights, New Horizons

For those who have been following the site for a past few years, you may have noticed that in 2022, shortly after the airshow, we launched a new article series called "The People In Aviation". With many of our viewers and a sizable number of plane spotters in Singapore having a keen interest in joining the aviation industry, we hope that this article series will give our readers an insight to the lives and journeys of people in various professions in the aviation industry, ranging from pilots, flight attendants (check it out in the links below), and eventually we hope to reach out to ground crews, air traffic controllers and service staff in the coming year. Additionally, we branched off to feature our community of aviation enthusiasts, where we began a monthly spotter feature article, beginning in Singapore, and next year hoping to reach out to spotters from across the world. Additionally, the team is also looking to interview aircraft model collectors for a collectors' feature in 2023.

2023 promises to be an interesting year for us, with many planned articles lined up for the coming weeks ahead. With the dynamism and creativity of the team, we hope to continue to be the premier site for local and regional aviation news in Singapore, and to be a cornerstone of unity for the Singapore aviation community in the coming years.

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