Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport is preparing to welcome its 30 millionth passenger of the year.
The Taoyuan International Airport Corp (TIAC) said that airlines had launched pilot flights from the airport to new destinations almost every month this year.
The new destinations include Takamatsu, Okayama, Asahikawa and Ishigaki Island in Japan; Busan in South Korea and Urumqi, Zhangjiajie, Hohhot, Hailar, Lijiang and Xining in China.
In addition, four airlines have either launched or plan to launch their first flights from Taiwan this year. Hawaii Airlines began flights in July, China’s Juneyao Airlines and Spring Airlines started on Dec. 1 and Japan’s Vanilla Air is to begin its service later this month.
Statistics from TIAC showed that the airport’s passenger volume hit a record-high 27.83 million last year. However, this year approximately 28 million passengers had passed through the airport by Nov. 30, which is a 10.3 percent increase from the same period last year.
The company said the airport hit the 20 million-passenger mark for the first time in 2004. The main reason passenger volume climbed to 30 million people in less than 10 years is the increase in flights between Taiwan and China, the company added.
The company estimated that the 30 millionth passenger would travel through the airport between Dec. 19 and Dec. 25 if passenger volume growth continues at its current rate, adding that the airport would organize a celebration and gifts to greet the lucky person.
TIAC spokesperson Wen Yung-sung (溫永松) said the airport has recently been contacted about commencing flight services by several large international airlines, including British Airways and Qatar Airways.
Earlier this year, Dubai-based Emirates Airlines announced that it would launch a pilot flight from Taiwan in February.
According to the Civil Aeronautics Administration, Taiwan has an aviation agreement with the United Arab Emirates, and Emirates Airlines can begin flight services from Taiwan whenever it sees fit.
However, there is no similar pact with Qatar, meaning that Doha-based Qatar Airways can only start offering flights from Taiwan after the two countries sign an aviation agreement, the agency said.
British Airways first entered the Taiwanese market in 1993 through its former subsidiary British Asia Airways, operating flights between London and Taipei via Hong Kong. It ceased operations after British Airways suspended flights to Taipei in 2001.