Taipei, Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport said Tuesday that it might handle only 500 visitors each day around the Feb. 8-13 Lunar New Year holiday period, down 99 percent year-on-year.
As Taiwan tightened its border controls due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the airport expects business to decline, said Lin Kuo-hsien (林國顯), chairman of Taoyuan International Airport Corp., which runs the airport.
There will be no extra flights added to the cross-Taiwan Strait routes during the Lunar New Year holiday, unlike has been the case in previous years, to help overseas Taiwanese return home for family reunions, according to the airport.
Taiwan started to impose more stringent border and quarantine restrictions in January in response to a new variant of the COVID-19 virus that was first detected in the United Kingdom.
Since Jan. 1, only Taiwanese citizens, residents and people in a few other categories will be allowed to enter the country, according to the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC).
The new policy revokes previous regulations that allow foreign nationals to enter Taiwan to take up internships, volunteer work, family visits and medical treatment.
That added to the airport’s woes, as it had already seen passenger volume drop by 84.72 percent to 7.43 million last year, according to airport authorities.
Only 1.18 million flights took off or landed at the airport throughout 2020, down by 55.41 percent from a year ago, the airport said, adding that the gloomy international travel market led to a deficit of NT$1.9 billion (US$67.8 million) for the airport last year.
Meanwhile, the Tourism Bureau said Taiwan recorded only 1.37 million foreign national arrivals last year, while the number for 2021 may not even exceed 1 million.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel