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Taiwan should increase air connectivity with North America: study

Taiwan should increase flight connectivity between Taoyuan International Airport and certain destinations in North America to make the country’s main gateway a more competitive transit hub, according to a study released by a government think tank.

The recent study by Taiwan’s Institute of Transportation calls on the government to establish new routes to Washington D.C. and Boston in the United States as each air link could contribute over 200,000 passenger-trips per year.

According to the study, other ideal destinations include Atlanta, Newark, Dallas and Saipan, which could contribute 180,000, 150,000, 140,000 and 120,000 trips, respectively.

Taiwan should also increase existing flight services to North American cities such as Toronto, Honolulu, Chicago and New York (JFK), the study said.

Reaching more North American destinations would make the airport a more competitive transit hub in the Asia-Pacific region than its counterparts in Hong Kong, Incheon, Tokyo (Narita), Singapore, Shanghai (Pudong) and Guangzhou.

All the above airports are located on flight routes connecting North America and Southeast Asia, making them popular transit airports, the study explained.

For instance, the study looked into the makeup of 26.07 million transit passengers from the seven airports in 2019 before the COVID-19 outbreak and found that 7.25 million, or 28 percent, were traveling between North America and Southeast Asia.

The airport that received the most transit passengers was Incheon (2.36 million), followed by Hong Kong (2 million) and Taoyuan (1.3 million), the study said.

Asked to comment on the study, EVA Airways, one of Taiwan’s leading airlines, said its round-trip flights to eight existing North American destinations will reach 84 per week by mid-May.

The carrier said the current priority is to expand its trans-Pacific and Europe-Asia network, while it will continue to evaluate the possibility of flying to more Northern American cities based on its fleet size.

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