The Paya Lebar Airport was developed between 1952 and 1955. It was regarded as a symbol of the then-colony’s post-war rapid development and modernisation.
The airport has seen several subsequent expansions, such as the addition of the passenger terminal in 1964, the construction of a new arrival terminal in 1977 and the conversion of the original passenger terminal into a departure terminal the same year.
The airport's expansions and renovations reflected the exponential growth in air travel in the 1950s and 1960s. Many visitors had fond memories of the arrival hall built in the Modern style, with high ceilings and thick pillars clad in black marble and gold mosaic.
The rooftop viewing gallery was also popular with visitors, and included a restaurant decorated with a mosaic mural depicting local life. The airport ceased operations as a civilian airport in 1981 with the opening of Changi International Airport.
The Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) took over the terminals and other buildings and integrated them into the military base. The interior furnishings of the former airport terminals, however, are largely preserved, including a well-known mushroom-shaped information counter and a mural of Raffles Place in the arrival hall.
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