Taoyuan International Airport Corp (TIAC) said it is expanding the airport security area at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport in response to an expected rise in transit passengers from China.
Taiwan and China reached agreements on six main issues in a meeting last week between Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) Minister Wang Yu-chi (王郁琦) and China’s Taiwan Affairs Office (TAO) Minister Zhang Zhijun (張志軍).
One of the issues was a proposal to allow Chinese air passengers to transfer in Taiwan before departing to international destinations. While consensus was reached, the details needed to be finalized through more negotiations between Taiwan’s Straits Exchange Foundation and China’s Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits.
Taiwan’s Civil Aeronautics Administration estimated that the number of Chinese transit passengers received by Taiwanese airports would grow by 10 percent should the policy be implemented.
Statistics from the administration show that about 9 million passengers arrived in the nation via cross-strait air routes last year. However, the number could increase to 10 million.
The TIAC said the Taoyuan airport received 2.09 million transit passengers last year, with the total this year potentially topping 2.15 million.
The number of transit passengers could hit 3 million if Chinese air passengers are allowed to transit via Taiwan.
According to TIAC, 60 percent of transit passengers are transferring between flights at Taoyuan airport’s Terminal Two, and the terminal is slightly crowded during peak hours.
The company said the airport might not be able to handle the increase in transit passengers if it does not prepare for it.
Based on the company’s preliminary plan, the number of airport security lines is to be increased from nine to 14, with two more lines being added in Terminal One and three more in Terminal Two.
The implementation should be completed in the first half of next year, to coincide with the arrival of new X-ray luggage scanning machines.
As the company aims to expand the floor space of Terminal Two next year, it also plans to take the opportunity to reorganize the way it processes transit passengers and by increasing the number of check-in counters and bathroom facilities.
In the future, new facilities are also planned for Terminal One, aimed at better serving transit passengers, such as a movie theater, a massage service and restaurants, the TIAC said.
The majority of transit passengers now come from North America and transfer to flights bound for Southeast Asia.
Chinese tourists would be able to transfer to flights heading to North America, New Zealand, Australia, or Southeast Asian nations once the new cross-strait transit policy takes effect, the company said.
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