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ECCT visit to Taoyuan airport

On 8 May around 40 ECCT members from the travel & tourism and related industries paid a visit to Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport (TTIA). The ECCT delegation was led by ECCT CEO Freddie Hoeglund and Co-Chairs of the ECCT's Travel & Tourism committee, Achim von Hake and Daver Lau. The trip included a meeting with David Fei, CEO of the Taoyuan International Airport Corporation (TIAC) and senior TIAC officials, a tour of TTIA's terminals and a lunch featuring guest speaker Kevin Chiang, President of the Ever Rich Corporation, Taiwan's leading duty free retailer.


Meeting with TIAC

In his opening remarks TIAC CEO David Fei said that he was proud of TIAC's staff being recognized by UK-based consultancy Skytrax as the world's best. He said that this shows that TIAC has the right software (people) in place. However, he admitted that this was not enough and that TIAC also has to continually improve and enhance its hardware technology and capacity. While this will be challenging, Fei has been studying other successful international airports and increasing international contacts. This he said had helped him to identify TTIA's strengths as well as weaknesses which will help TIAC can take swift action to make improvements and enhance the passenger experience.In 2014, 35 million passengers passed through TTIA, over the optimal capacity of 32 million. Given expectations of continuing double-digit growth annually, the number of passenger trips is expected to reach 60 million by 2030, the number of flights to reach 500,000 and cargo volume growth to reach 4.5 million tonnes. Given that capacity is already stretched, the construction of a new terminal and runway has become urgent. The airport upgrade project is one of the government's 10 so-called iTaiwan major construction projects. The project for the construction of Terminal 3 was already approved by the Executive Yuan on 6 March this year. Design consultations are expected to be finalized by the fourth quarter of this year, contractors finalized by 2017 and construction completed and ready for operational testing by 2021.  In order to deal with a larger number of passengers in the interim period, the capacity of existing terminals has been increased by renovations, increasing capacity for group check-ins and converting space previously occupied by first class lounges. In total, these efforts should allow TTIA to handle an additional 10 million passengers annually by 2018.T3 will be a multifunctional building linked to T2 and T1 via a long corridor, which will be lined with shops, restaurants and other entertainment and leisure facilities. Among technical improvements planned for TTIA include self-service check-in, MRT check-in (when the airport MRT opens), an enhanced baggage handling system using RFID technology and improvements in making transit more seamless.

In terms of runways 1 and 2, renovations are slated to be completed by Chinese New Year 2016. There are plans to build a third runway but additional land will need to be secured and developed for this purpose.

After the meeting with the TIAC, ECCT visitors were taken on a tour behind the scenes of TTIA facilities run by Ever Rich Corporation. These include duty free stores, leisure facilities and an exclusive VIP entrance, which allows VIP passengers the fastest and most comfortable way to arrive and leave Taiwan. The VIP entrance has its own dedicated immigration and check-in service, lounge, dining rooms, restaurants, meeting rooms and gym (equipped with exercise machines, a sauna and shower).

Lunch with Ever Rich President
After the tour of the airport, members enjoyed a lunch featuring Kevin Chiang, President of the Ever Rich Corporation.  In his speech, Chiang gave an overview of Ever Rich's extensive operations which span 17 operation sites at all of Taiwan's major airports and harbours and employ 7,000 staff. The group is also opening a 287-room hotel on Taiwan's Kinmen Island. Chiang also highlighted some of the group's CSR activities in Taiwan. Citing the strong growth in tourism arrivals in recent years, Chiang said there is still room for tourism to grow in Taiwan. Ever Rich is still adding new stores at TTIA and improving the quality of facilities. For example, the firm has built more vertical green walls (with real plants) in order to improve the appearance and quality of air in the airport. On plans for Terminal 3, passengers can expect the same high-end international brands that are currently operating in T1 and T2 to have a presence as well as a higher proportion of Taiwanese brands.