The Executive Yuan has preliminarily agreed to grant a Taoyuan International Airport Corp (TIAC) request for NT$60 billion (US$2.02 billion) to cover Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport’s expenses in the short term, the company said on Saturday.
The airport operator said it had filed a request for government funding earlier this month due to a significant shortfall in revenue caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, making it unable to fund construction projects that are crucial to the airport’s development in the long term.
“These projects would help upgrade the Taoyuan airport’s capacity, so it can become an important air hub in East Asia, which would serve as a significant indicator of Taiwan’s competitiveness,” TIAC said, adding that the Executive Yuan would make an announcement once the details are finalized.
The number of air passengers accessing the nation’s largest airport has sharply declined from March 2020 due to a strict entry policy imposed by the Central Epidemic Command Center to contain COVID-19, it said, adding that the figure dropped to a historic low of 909,000 passengers last year.
As a result, the airport’s revenue decreased drastically, with financial losses totaling NT$11.3 billion, the company said.
As of this month, the company has taken loans of more than NT$10 billion to fund its daily operations, it said.
Nearly NT$150 billion was needed for the airport’s construction projects, it said.
“Our assessment was that we would need government assistance in the short term to build the third terminal and third runway,” the company said. “These facilities would help facilitate the recovery of Taiwan’s economy and tourism industry in the post-pandemic era.”
Construction of Terminal 3 is slightly ahead of schedule, TIAC said, adding that it is aiming to open the northern satellite concourse for operations by the end of 2024.
Once construction is completed in 2025, the new terminal would be equipped to serve up to 45 million passengers per year, the company said, adding that it would have 21 aircraft parking spaces near jet bridges and five remote aircraft spaces.
The third runway would enable the airport to accommodate 80 to 90 aircraft per hour, up from 50 per hour at present with only two runways, TIAC said.
The funding would be distributed over the next four years, it said, adding that it would determine whether further government assistance is needed depending on the speed of the airport’s recovery.
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