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TTIA: Asia’s newest gateway

Nov 14, 2014

Aside from providing visitors with that all-important first impression of the country, major international airports serve as a fair indicator of economic health. In the case of Taoyuan International Airport in Taipei, it becomes very clear that Taiwan remains a dynamic center of business.

Situated an average of only two and a half hours by plane from any major city in East Asia  — closer than any other major airport in the region — the Taiwanese capital’s airport has seen its air traffic soar. To date, Taoyuan International Airport serves 164 destinations worldwide, including 48 destinations in mainland China.

“The airport is doing very well in terms of passengers and the number of cargo this year. Traffic growth in half a year has increased double-digits by 13 percent, said Taoyuan International Airport Corporation President and CEO David H.J. Fei.

With a growing economy and improving cross-strait relations, Taipei attracted 8.03 million visitors in 2013, a sharp increase from the 3.85 million tourists it welcomed in 2008. And the upward trend is expected to continue over the next few years.

Among its achievements, Taoyuan International Airport was among those that received the Airports Council International’s annual Airport Service Quality Awards last year and was ranked the third—best airport in the world in its size category (between 25 and 40 million passengers).

According to officials, Taoyuan airport can currently accommodate 32 million passengers. By the end of the year, officials predict that passenger traffic to reach 34 million, which underlines the urgent need for expansion, a priority of its leadership.

“Taoyuan airport has to pave the way for its future through expansion to give passengers a comfortable area, free showers, a buffet area, and even a sleeping area. This is something that is urgent to this airport,” explained Fei.

As Taiwan unveils its massive Aerotropolis flagship project, Taoyuan International Airport has become a vital component of this ambitious vision. Plans have been unveiled for the construction of a third terminal, a multi—functional building, as well as additional roadways and rail links.

Taiwan’s aerotropolis project presents an opportunity for international involvement and collaboration.

T3 and the multi-functional building, which will serve a very important purpose, will create a so-called cluster for industries. For example, an international business branch can be set up here as a service center or a regional logistic center to enhance their competitiveness,” said Fei.

In addition, Taoyuan International Airport is undergoing a major upgrade as it transforms itself into a smart and green facility and introduces a variety of important airport management systems, many of which come from the United States.

Given the long list of infrastructure upgrades, Taoyuan International Airport is looking to seek more partnerships with international investors.

“We may be an underestimated market for overseas investors, but Taoyuan Airport has strong potential in the near future. Our attractiveness and far-sighted views will surely grab attention around the world,” said Fei.


- This article originally appeared in the November/December 2014 edition of Foreign Affairs (Credit: Elizabeth Arcega)

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Taiwan 2014 was prepared for and originally printed in GMI Post Newspaper.

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