Airport expansion project not being put on hold: TIAC
Photo from Taoyuan International Airport Corp. webite
Taipei, May 30 (CNA) Taoyuan International Airport Corporation (TIAC) rejected speculation on Monday that the construction of a new third terminal at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport might be postponed because of decreasing numbers of Chinese visitors.
The company said construction on Terminal 3, which has yet to begin, would proceed according to plan so that the airport could handle 86 million visitors per year once the new terminal is completed in 2020.
The China Times reported Monday that there could be changes to the airport's expansion plans because of a decrease in visitors from China as well as a reduction of flights across the Taiwan Strait.
Chinese nationals accounted for 40 percent of Taiwan's 10 million foreign arrivals last year, but many believe Beijing is lowering the number of visitors to put pressure on Taiwan's new president, Tsai Ing-wen, to move closer to China's line on cross-Taiwan Strait ties.
TIAC said Monday that the airport can currently handle 32 million visitors per year at present, but it accommodated 38.47 million passengers in 2015 and could face more than 40 million this year.
Construction of Terminal 3, the company said, will be completed in 2020 as planned, which will boost the airport's overall passenger capacity to 86 million.
Another project to expand Terminal 2 is also proceeding on schedule and is scheduled to be completed in 2018. It will increase Terminal 2's passenger capacity by 5 million a year.
The company said the international gateway is an engine of the country's competitiveness and economic development and its expansion is a long-term and necessary initiative.
It also hopes to develop new air routes, especially long-distance routes, and it is prepared to offer incentives to attract more flights to the airport, the company said.
(By Pien Chin-feng and CNA intern Brook Hsiao)