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MOTC rejects proposal for hike to airport service fee

The Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC) has rejected a proposal by the Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport to raise a service fee charged on travelers, local media reported yesterday.

The timing to do raise the service charge is inappropriate, due to the current economic woes, MOTC said.

The service fee has been in practice for decades and is charged on travelers who exit Taiwan through the airport. The fee is included in one's airfare and is NT$300 per person.

Since its privatization in November 2010, the airport has launched various infrastructure upgrade projects. These include repair work to the runway, the renovation of the current two terminals and construction of a future third terminal.

The airport is also considering the construction of a special terminal specifically for low-price airlines that have recently become quite popular in Taiwan's travel industry. In addition, the construction of a third runway is also under consideration.

The newest low-fare airline to come to Taiwan was Peach Airlines, which charges less than NT$3,000 on a single trip from Taipei to Osaka.

In the first half, the airport proposed increasing the service charge with the Ministry of Transportation and Communications, which however has rejected the proposal due poor timing, given Taiwan's current slowdown.

According to the airport, the island's Tourism Development Act provides the legal ground for collecting the service charge, which is split 60-40 between the Tourism Bureau under MOTC and the airport, which uses the money to conduct various developmental works.

The airport last year had about 24 million tourist arrivals and departures. Since the fee is charged on departing passengers, last year's revenue from the fee totaled about NT$3.6 billion, of which the airport got NT$1.4 billion.

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