Fri, Mar 08, 2013 - Page 3 News List

Airport operator says no new plan to attract LCCs

CAPACITY:The firm dropped plans to turn a building into a terminal for low-cost carriers because it was too small to keep up with the growth in passenger numbers

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

Taoyuan International Airport Corp yesterday said it has no new plans to attract low-cost carriers (LCC) to the nation’s largest airport.

Last year, the company proposed remodeling a building previously used by the catering service of Taipei Grand Hotel and turning it into an LCC terminal. The proposal was recently turned down by the Ministry of Transportation and Communications.

There are currently 12 budget airlines serving Taiwan: 10 at Taoyuan airport and two at Taipei International Airport (Songshan airport).

Hsu Chia-jui (許家瑞), general manager of the company’s business planning and marketing department, said that LCCs accounted for 3.3 percent, or 930,000, of Taoyuan airport’s passenger volume last year.

He said the airport estimated that passengers arriving via budget airlines could exceed 1 million this year.

“The LCCs have contributed [to airport traffic] by bringing more passengers from Singapore and Malaysia,” he said.

However, Hsu said the company abandoned the plan to build an LCC terminal after a thorough assessment of costs and benefits.

“The building [used by Grand Hotel] would be able to accommodate 1 million passengers after remodeling, [but] given our estimates on growth in LCC passenger numbers, the terminal will soon run out of capacity after remodeling,” he said.

Hsu added that a new terminal would also need customs, immigration, quarantine and security officers, raising the question of whether such an investment would be profitable.

Hsu said that Taoyuan airport’s terminals one and two have a combined capacity of 32 million, but annual passenger volume is only about 27.38 million.

There is still capacity for LCC passengers, he said.

“The problem we are trying to solve now is how to ease congestion during peak hours, from 6am to 9am,” he said.

Hsu added that the airport has no intention of reaching out to budget carriers by offering them special deals.

Meanwhile, the Civil Aeronautics Administration is looking into offering different aircraft landing charges at different airports to ease the congestion at Taoyuan airport and encourage more LCCs to divert flights to regional airports.

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