The government is considering charging transit passengers no more than NT$500 for using services and facilities at the nation’s airports, Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) Director-General Lin Kuo-hsien (林國顯) said at a meeting of the legislature’s Transportation Committee yesterday.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, costs of cleaning and disinfecting facilities at international airports have risen, Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Liu Shih-fang (劉世芳) said.
Like outbound travelers, transit passengers also need to use airports’ restrooms and dining facilities, and should pay for the services, she said.
Photo: Chen Hsin-yu, Taipei Times
Lin, who is also the acting chairman of airport operator Taoyuan International Airport Corp (TIAC), told Liu that he would work with the Ministry of Transportation and Communications officials and propose a pricing scheme in three months.
Currently, only outbound travelers are charged NT$500 per person for using services and facilities at international airports, Lin told reporters on the sidelines of the committee meeting.
The fee is not likely to go over NT$500, he said, adding that many airports around the world also charge transit passengers for using airport facilities.
Lin told the committee that the number of travelers accessing Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport reached 46.89 million in 2019.
This year, the number of air travelers accessing the airport would only be about 10 percent of the 2019 level, even after the Central Epidemic Command Center has waived quarantine requirements and raised the cap for inbound travelers to 150,000 persons per week since Oct. 13, he said.
However, TIAC estimated that the overall passenger volume at the nation’s largest international airport would return to about 40 percent of 2019-levels next year and 80 percent by 2025, he said, adding that the number of transit passengers could rebound to 80 percent next year.
The return of transit passengers would be faster thanks to new flight services by China Airlines and EVA Airways, Lin said.
Liu said the CAA and Tourism Bureau should work hard to attract international travelers to visit or transit through Taiwan, despite the uncertainties caused by the ongoing war between Ukraine and Russia and China’s “zero COVID” policy.
Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Chen Su-yueh (陳素月) asked Lin about TIAC’s progress in building Terminal 3 and a third runway.
As of last month, 42 percent of the construction at Terminal 3 had been completed, slightly ahead of schedule, Lin said.
“China Airlines, EVA and Starlux have expressed their interest in establishing service bases in Terminal 3,” he said.
International carriers flying from North America to Southeast Asian nations via Taiwan would be given priority in using the third terminal, he added.
However, construction of a third runway would not begin until 2024, when TIAC completes its land expropriation, Lin said.
The project is scheduled to be completed by 2030, he said.
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