Taoyuan Int’l Airport becomes state-run firm


TAIPEI, Taiwan — Taiwan’s busiest international airport begins a new era today when it becomes a state-run company, a move aimed at enhancing the airport’s efficiency and improving an image tarnished by repeated glitches and heavy criticism of its services.

Instilling a “business management spirit” through the airport’s corporatization is one of the ways the government hopes to enhance the airport’s management and develop the facility’s adjacent areas, the Ministry of Transportation and Communications said in a statement Saturday.

The airport, which has been a government agency since it opened in 1979, has suffered repeated malfunctions in recent months, including leaky bathrooms, defective runways, and a breakdown of the automatic baggage handling system.

Chang You-hern, the convener of a government task force aimed at improving the airport’s services, has said the government would make the airport one of the world’s top 10 airports within three years. It currently ranks 27th in the world.

The ministry will hold a ceremony on Monday to mark the formation of the new company, which it said was the result of a government plan in 2009 to reform the airport.

The government will also invest NT$67 billion (US$2.2 billion) in the construction of a third terminal for the airport, slated to be completed by 2018.

By that time, the airport will serve 75 million passengers per year, with the third terminal able to handle 43 million of them, the ministry projected.

Ruling Kuomintang (KMT) Legislator Tsao Erh-chang recently expressed skepticism, however, over the ministry’s projections, noting that the international airport has handled only 24 million travelers so far this year.