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Taipei airport to get billion-dollar upgrade

The Executive Yuan yesterday approved a NT$1 billion project for Taipei International Airport (formerly Taipei Songshan Airport) that is hoped to generate 8,000-10,000 job opportunities. The project aims to create an “airport city” where travelers can work, rest and play within its boundaries.

With the expansion of business and shopping centers outside the air travel hub, the government hopes to revitalize the areas near and inside the airport, creating a “business commercial corridor.” According to the Executive Yuan, the corridor will consist of hotels, conference halls and convention buildings that run along the outer bounds of the airport.

Yeh Kuang-shih (葉匡時), deputy minister of transportation, said “it is estimated that private investment in the project could reach NT$20-40 billion.”

As part of the project, Yeh explained that the Civil Aviation Administration and China Airlines Operations, currently in buildings on the east side of the airport, will be relocated and the 5 hectares of land will be renovated to create the corridor.

Set on Bringing Back Glory

Citing the airport's past booming commerce, Premier Sean Chen said that it is essential for the government to help restore the airport to its past glory. “This has long been an issue that the government is concerned about,” Chen said.

Built in 1936, the airport was changed to carry domestic flights only in 1979. In 1997 the airport serviced 15 million travelers. However, in the following years its status declined due to the rise of the high-speed rail system. The airport made something of a comeback in 2008 after it began providing several international flights to mainland China and Japan.

The premier has instructed officials to combine resources to ensure the effective use of airport land — minimizing its use by military aircraft while maximizing the operations of commercial flights. “This will also strengthen the Taipei Metro Area's competitive edge,” Chen said.

Taipei City Mayor: Bring It On

Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) believes the city is ready to become a central hub for ground and air transportation, according to spokesman Chang Chi-chiang (張其強).

“There will be a conference meeting between the private sectors and government officials by the end of the month. That way, the government can effectively meet the needs of all businesses involved,” Chang said.

“A total of NT$30 billion is expected to be invested into this project, while roughly 8,000 jobs could be created.”

Since Taipei Main Station is the hub for the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) system, Taiwan Railways Administration and the high speed rail, Chang commented that the addition of an airline hub would make transportation in Taipei even more convenient.

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