Mon, Nov 01, 2010 - Page 2 News List

Taoyuan airport to enter new era as a state-run firm

LONG IN THE TOOTHThe facility has operated as a state agency since its opening 31 years ago, and the corporatization marks the start of a major overhaul

Staff Writer, with CNA

Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport will enter a new era today when it becomes a state-run company, a move aimed at enhancing the airport’s efficiency and improving its tarnished image following repeated glitches and heavy criticism of its services.

Instilling a “business management spirit” through the airport’s corporatization is one of the ways the government hopes to enhance the airport’s management and develop the facility’s adjacent areas, the Ministry of Transportation and Communications said in a statement on Saturday.

The airport, which has been a government agency since it opened in 1979, has suffered repeated malfunctions in recent months, including leaky bathrooms, defective jetways and a breakdown of the automatic baggage handling system.

Former Civil Aeronautics Administration director-general Chang Yu-hern (張有恆), the convener of a government task force aimed at improving the airport’s services, has said the government would make the airport one of the world’s top 10 airports within three years. It currently ranks No. 27 in the world.

The ministry will hold a ceremony today to mark the formation of the new company, which it said was the result of a government plan last year to renovate the airport.

The government will also invest NT$67 billion (US$2.2 billion) in the construction of a third terminal for the airport, which is scheduled for completion by 2018.

By that time, the airport is estimated to serve 75 million passengers per year, with the third terminal able to handle 43 million, the ministry projected.

However, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Tsao Erh-chang (曹爾忠) recently expressed skepticism over the ministry’s projections, saying the international airport had only handled 24 million travelers so far this year.

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