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Australian engineer wins S$1,000,000 at Changi Airport’s Millionaire Grand Draw

Press release -

Australian engineer wins S$1,000,000 at Changi Airport’s Millionaire Grand Draw

SINGAPORE, 12 February 2012 – A 26 year-old Australian engineer from Perth received a windfall of S$1 million in cash at Changi Airport’s second ‘Be a Changi Millionaire’ Grand Draw today. Ms Jessica Down beat six other finalists to emerge the overall winner of the seven-month long retail promotion, which culminated in a dramatic grand finale at Changi Airport’s Terminal 3 this afternoon.

The finalists had to compete in three rounds of exciting games based on luck, during which the seven finalists were reduced down to the last two – Ms Down and Dr Mohamed Reda Akdim from Holland - in the final round. In the final and deciding round of the Draw, Ms Down pulled the winning string to trigger a shower of cash and confetti, declaring her the winner of the million dollars.

Changi Airport Group’s (CAG) Chief Executive Officer, Mr Lee Seow Hiang, and Mr Ross Jackson, Head of Visa's Cross-Border Business for Asia Pacific, Central Europe, Middle East and Africa, presented Ms Down with her prize. The ‘Be a Changi Millionaire’ was co-sponsored by CAG and Visa.

The Exciting Journey to a Million Dollars

Said an exuberant Ms Down, who was still in a state of ecstatic disbelief immediately after the Draw, “It is unbelievable. You don’t think this can happen to you and then it does. I’m speechless. I’m laughing so much that I’ve got a sore tummy already!”

Describing the dramatic winning moment when she pulled the correct string to the grand prize, Ms Down said, “I pulled it and it didn’t feel like the (winning) string. I heard a little click and I thought ‘I lost it, I lost it’. But as soon as it went bang and the confetti came down, I could not believe it. I think the only word I can have for it is ‘unbelievable’!”

Before her win, Ms Down had refrained from thinking too much about her plans for the million dollars. “I didn’t want to jinx it. You know, you run the numbers in your head and you think, could be me but mainly not. And I think, just go there and have fun – whatever will happen, will happen.”

After being declared the Changi Millionaire, Ms Down, who is accompanied by her boyfriend on this trip, shared her plans for her winnings. “I will definitely take the family on a big holiday. After that, I guess I will invest a little and do all the sensible things, like look at buying my first house. Of course, there will be a party!”

Ms Down’s exciting journey to becoming the Changi Millionaire started out as an uneventful business trip to Singapore in September 2011. Before flying back home to Perth, she purchased a bottle of Paco Rabanne perfume for her sister, which was coincidentally named “Lady Million”, and some cosmetics for herself from the Perfumes and Cosmetic store at the Terminal 1 Departure Transit Mall. In fact, she could barely even remember filling up the ‘Be a Changi Millionaire’ lucky draw entry form, since she never had much luck with such draws. The purchase of about S$180 ended up giving Ms Down the biggest windfall of her life.

Mr Lee said: “We congratulate Ms Down on her good fortune. This is the second time we have made a Changi shopper an overnight millionaire, and we are all very happy for her. Through the Millionaire Draw, we hope to convey the message that shopping at Changi Airport is not only exciting and enjoyable, it can also be very rewarding.”

"The shopping experience in Singapore's Changi Airport can rival any top shopping mall. With the sheer number of international visitors going through the airport every day, we wanted to ensure that those who want that bargain but have little time to spare before their flight, can shop quickly and easily, without the burden of exchanging multiple currencies, with their Visa card and be rewarded in the process," said Mr Jackson.

The six other finalists from Australia, Holland, Thailand and Singapore each received S$5,000 in cash, plus a three day/ two night stay at Crowne Plaza Changi Airport Hotel, with airfare provided for non-Singapore residents.

Strong boost to sales at Changi Airport

The ‘Be a Changi Millionaire’ Draw continues to be the most popular retail promotion held at Changi Airport. It received an overwhelming 1.8 million lucky draw entries in 2011, which is double that of its inaugural run in 2010.

On the back of this successful promotion, concessions sales at Changi Airport from May to November 2011 grew by about 20% year-on-year, outperforming passenger traffic growth of about 10% during the same period. The Millionaire Draw was also successful in raising the amount spent by Changi’s shoppers in a single transaction. In particular, sales receipts of S$30 and above (the minimum spend to qualify for the Draw) grew about 15% year-on-year during the promotion period. In addition, sales receipts of S$500 and above registered an increase of over 20% year-on-year during the same period.

In terms of nationality, Singaporeans, who contribute about 20% to concession sales at Changi Airport, are big winners of the Draw. On top of three of the seven finalists being Singaporeans, about 60% of the 30 weekly winners [1] are Singaporeans, while the rest hail from Indonesia, China and India.

“Our ‘Be a Changi Millionaire’ promotion has been very well received and is quickly gaining traction among shoppers from all over the world. The novelty and scale of this promotion has put Changi on the world map, and enhanced our attractiveness as a shopping destination for both global travellers as well as local visitors. We will continue to run Millionaire Draw again in 2012, and create yet another overnight Millionaire from among our shoppers one year from now,” said Mr Lee.

To make shopping and dining at Changi Airport rewarding for visitors, CAG has in place a suite of attractive retail programmes besides the ‘Be a Changi Millionaire’ Draw. Shoppers enjoy 7% GST savings, including in the public areas where shops absorb GST charges. Changi Airport’s loyalty programme, Changi Rewards, also offers shoppers rebates of up to 6% in the form of shopping vouchers.

More about ‘Be a Changi Millionaire’

First launched in 2010, the ‘Be a Changi Millionaire’ Draw is the biggest retail campaign ever in Changi Airport’s history and the first-of-its kind in the world. The grand prize of S$1 million is the largest cash prize to be given away in a retail draw in Singapore or by an airport anywhere in the world.

The qualifying period for the ‘Be Changi Millionaire’ Draw in 2011 was from 1 May 2011 to 30 November 2011. To qualify for the Millionaire Draw, passengers and visitors simply had to shop or dine at Changi Airport, with a minimum spend of just S$30 in a single receipt, with the number of chances increasing with the amount spent. Chances were doubled for those who paid with Visa cards.

The ‘Be a Changi Millionaire’ promotion saw a weekly prize of S$1,000 given over 30 weeks (seven months). After the close of each month, a monthly draw was conducted to shortlist one finalist for participation in the Grand Draw. The Changi Millionaire was selected from among the seven monthly finalists.

[1] On top of the monthly finalists, a weekly prize of S$1,000 was given to one lucky winner each week, over 30 weeks.



About Changi Airport Group

Changi Airport Group (Singapore) Pte Ltd (CAG) ( was formed on 16 June 2009 and the corporatisation of Singapore Changi Airport followed on 1 July 2009.  As the company managing Changi Airport, CAG undertakes key functions focusing on airport operations and management, air hub development, commercial activities and airport emergency services.  Through its subsidiary Changi Airports International, the Group invests in and manages foreign airports to spread the success of Changi Airport internationally.

Changi Airport ( is the world’s most awarded airport having garnered more than 390 accolades since it opened in 1981.  To serve passengers and visitors from the world over, there are 320 retail stores and 130 F&B outlets across the airport's four terminals.  Changi handled more than 46 million passenger movements in 2011, an annual record.  Today, it serves some 100 airlines flying to over 210 cities in about 60 countries and territories worldwide.  A flight takes off or lands at Changi roughly once every 100 seconds.

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Changi Airport Group (Singapore) Pte Ltd (CAG) ( was formed on 16 June 2009 and the corporatisation of Singapore Changi Airport (IATA: SIN, ICAO: WSSS) followed on 1 July 2009. As the company managing Changi Airport, CAG undertakes key functions focusing on airport operations and management, air hub development, commercial activities and airport emergency services. CAG also manages Seletar Airport (IATA: XSP, ICAO: WSSL) and through its subsidiary Changi Airports International, invests in and manages foreign airports.