At a time when passengers and other visitors to Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport are disconcerted by problems with the hardware and software at the airport, reports say the Ministry of Transportation is considering a raise in the rate. The increase would be a relatively hefty one – a hike of 67% from NT$300 to NT$500 – and government officials are vigorously defending the move, pointing out that the tax imposed at Taoyuan is still among the lowest in Asia.
Coming after 27 years of no increases, a tax hike should not be that much of a surprise to most travelers, yet some people witnessing leaking roofs during rainstorms and stymied by computer glitches and hang-ups at check-in counters say that the airport administration should act to improve its service to passengers and visitors before daring to raise the cost of passing through the airport.
One traveler told a reporter, “The size of the increase doesn’t really seem justified in light of the improvements they have made. I think a 67% hike is a bit much.”
With the hefty increase comes a change in the way the tax income is divvied up. Only 2.8% of the old charge of NT$300 went to airlines, with almost 60% going to the Tourism Bureau and 40% to Taoyuan Airport Corporation. With the new rate the airlines will get nothing with the airport authority and the Tourism Bureau enjoying a 50/50 split of the proceeds.
The MOTC explains that the biggest reason for the tax hike is to help finance construction of a third passenger terminal at the airport. At any rate, the ministry says, the cost of the airport tax is still less than what is slapped on to ticket prices at airports throughout Asia including airports in China, Singapore’s Changi, Korea’s Inchon at Seoul and Japan’s Haneda in Tokyo. That does little to mollify the public, however, with travelers maintaining that other airports offer much better service to passengers and visitors.
One incoming passenger who was asked his opinion of the tax hike groused: "I came all the way from the US via Tokyo, and I think...at Taoyuan the environment is not so good, this is all B.S."