Taipei International Airport (Songshan airport) was the only airport in the nation to turn a profit last year, albeit small, with most of the revenue coming from domestic flight services, Ministry of Transportation and Communications data showed.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of air travelers accessing Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport was down 84 percent to 7.5 million last year, while those accessing Songshan airport were down more than 50 percent to 3.08 million, the data showed.
The number of travelers accessing international airports in Taichung and Kaohsiung slid to 1.1 million and 1.89 million respectively, with the decline exceeding 60 percent, the ministry said.
Photo: Ben Blanchard, Reuters
Taoyuan International Airport Corp, which operates Taoyuan airport, generated profit of more than NT$7 billion (US$247.6 million) in 2019, but it sustained a financial loss of NT$1.9 billion last year, its first loss since it was established in 2010, the ministry said.
The other 16 civil aviation airports, which are supervised by the Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA), reported a collective financial loss of about NT$1 billion last year, down from total profit of NT$2 billion in 2019, the ministry said.
Songshan airport generated NT$129 million in profit last year, becoming the nation’s only airport to remain profitable, the ministry said, adding that being an important domestic flight hub also helped.
However, the airport’s profit shrank from NT$1.07 billion in 2019, it said.
Meanwhile, the number of travelers accessing airports in Hualien and Tainan was down about 40 percent, while the number accessing airports in Chiayi and Penghu counties was down by 30 percent, the ministry said.
The CAA has said that airports in Taipei, Taichung and Kaohsiung would only recover 30 percent of their respective international and cross-strait flight travelers by next year, depending on whether other countries can control the spread of COVID-19 and quickly administer vaccines.
The timing of an end to the government’s border controls would also play a key role in recovering some of the international and cross-strait travelers, the CAA said.
As the nation’s domestic flights were relatively unscathed by the pandemic, the agency said that domestic passenger volume should return to the 2019 level by next year.
This year, airlines and relevant service operators would likely continue to experience financial difficulty, the agency said, adding that it would offer more relief funds to help service operators affected by border restrictions.
Aside from expanding the relief loans available for civilian air transport, ground handling and aviation catering operators, the ministry is also seeking an additional NT$3.128 billion from the Executive Yuan to help fund subsidy programs, the agency said.
The additional funding would be mainly used to subsidize airport service operators’ use of airport facilities, airport service workers’ salaries and airport quarantine taxi fleets, the agency said.
Several international airlines canceled flights to Taiwan last year, including Air France, Royal Flight airlines, Siberia Airlines, AirAsia Japan, Eastar Jet, Cathay Dragon and NokScoot Airlines.
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