Taipei, Sept. 23 (CNA) Passenger volume at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport could hit 4.5 million for 2022, up 1 million from an earlier forecast, in anticipation of looser COVID-19 border controls, the airport operator said Friday.
According to Taoyuan International Airport Corp. (TIAC), the number of people arriving, leaving and transiting at the airport could rise sharply following the planned cancellation of the 3-day quarantinerequirement for arriving travelers from Oct. 13.
Previously the easing of border controls saw airport passenger volume increase, explained TIAC Vice President Albert Lee (李俊德).
For instance, after the government raised the weekly cap on visitor arrivals allowed to enter Taiwan from 25,000 to 50,000 per week on Aug. 22, total passenger volume in August surpassed 480,000, more than three times the January-July monthly average this year and the highest since April 2020, Lee said.
According to TIAC data, the airport handled about 1.57 million passenger-trips and 38,000 flights during the first eight months of 2022, up 158 percent and 11.39 percent, respectively, from the same period last year.
However, cargo volume between January and August totaled only 1.74 million metric tons, down 5.3 percent year-on-year due to lower demand, the company said.
Lee said international air travel volume could return to pre-COVID-19 levels by 2024, citing the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and Airports Council International (ACI).
However, Asian countries are far behind Western countries in this area due to their tighter border controls, particularly with China’s zero COVID policy which seeks to halt the spread of the virus, Lee said.
According to the ACI, passenger travel during the first five months of 2022 worldwide was 53.4 percent of the level in the same period in 2019.
However, Asia-Pacific countries recorded only a 14.5 percent of the 2019 passenger volume from January to May this year, ACI data showed.
In terms of air passenger volume between January and July 2022, Singapore’s Changi Airport topped the Asia-Pacific region with a 33.5 percent of the 2019 level, followed by Suvarnabhumi Airport in Thailand with 20.8 percent.
Meanwhile, Taoyuan airport recorded only 3.9 percent of 2019 passenger volume over the same period, according to the ACI.
(By Wang Shu-fen and Lee Hsin-Yin)
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