A report from Taiwan’s National Audit office found the island’s main international hub – Taoyuan International Airport – is lagging behind its regional counterparts when it comes to the growth in transit passenger traffic over the last few years.
In the report, Taoyuan Airport saw a 10.98% growth rate in 2017. It is a small increase from estimates in 2014, where it was reported at 9.48%. When compared to the growth rates of major international hubs in the region, it pales in comparison to the 2016 estimates from Hong Kong (29.5%), Singapore (26.7%), Bangkok (24.8%), and Seoul (17%). The only city it ahead of happens to be Beijing, which saw a growth rate of 10%.
It comes as not-so-great news to Taiwan’s Ministry of Transportation and Communication (MOTC), as it has initiated several projects over the last few years to improve the facilities and traveler experience at Taoyuan Airport. Among the recent projects include the construction of a new Terminal 3, and enhancements to accommodate the Airbus A380 superjumbo jets.
For trans-Pacific travel, connecting through Taipei is a viable option with itineraries from EVA Air and China Airlines. Fares on these trips are also competitive. As an example: a round trip ticket between Manila to San Francisco from either way next month can be book for around $700.
While the example of flights between Manila and San Francisco is one example, it still has to compete with the carriers from mainland-China offering low cost tickets on most routes which can sometimes go for less than $500 from both ends of the Pacific. In addition to offering competitive fares, flight schedules may have to be tweaked to allow for convenient connection times.
Even with low fares, airports such as Hong Kong and Singapore’s Changi have become attractions in itself. Changi will be introducing “The Jewel,” which will have both shops and activities to do. We could see Taoyuan Airport invest more in sleeping facilities and lounges to help pass the time in between flights.