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​ROUTES: Taipei Taoyuan banks on North Asia as growth engine

Taipei Taoyuan Intentional airport expects strong passenger growth in Northeast Asia to drive expansion in the coming years.

Speaking to FlightGlobal at Routes Asia in Okinawa, the airport’s senior manager of business planning and marketing, Ting Yuanhuan, says that it saw passenger numbers increase by 24% in 2016, mainly driven by passengers from Japan and South Korea.

Ting explains that the figure was driven by a 4.3% increase in business from Taiwanese and other regional low-cost airlines. Out the 42 million passengers Taoyuan handled in 2016, 12.6 million came from the region, which was up 9.9% annually.

Last year, it saw the highest number of inbound passengers from North Asia originate from Japan’s Kansai International and Narita International airports. Meanwhile, South Korea’s Incheon was its “most improved” market.

That growth has helped to offset a 4% fall in Chinese tourists during 2016, after diplomatic tensions saw Beijing stop issuing visas for travel to Taiwan. Arrivals from China were also doen 10% in January.

“The situation [with China] is getting worse,” admits Ting. “But we also have other ideas to grow our network.”

He says that Taoyuan is eyeing new connections to more Europen capital cities, and destinations in India.

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