Taipei, April 30 (CNA) A direct flight service between Taipei International Airport and Gimpo Airport in South Korea is expected to make Taiwan more competitive in the global transportation market, according to industry authorities.
The inauguration of the new air route Monday will complete the last piece in a Taiwan campaign dubbed "Golden Aviation Circle in Northeast Asia" and make travel easier across the region, said the Tourism Bureau and the Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA).
The campaign, part of President Ma Ying-jeou's presidential campaign platform in 2007, is aimed at allowing travel from Taipei to other major airports in the Asia-Pacific region in an average time of 2 hours and 55 minutes.
Direct flights from Taipei to Shanghai's Hongqiao Airport and to Tokyo's Haneda Airport began in 2010, with figures in March showing a load factor of 80 and 90 percent, respectively, on the two routes.
"The Taipei-Gimpo direct route will bring the Taipei airport into full play, making it an air transportation hub in Northeast Asia," said the CAA's Planning, Legal and International Affairs Division.
Cheng Yi-ping, section chief at the Tourism Bureau's International Travel Division, said expansion of Taiwan's flight network is good for the country's tourism industry.
"Individual and business travelers are the ones most likely to benefit from the new route," she said.
However, although Taiwan's Travel Agent Association was upbeat about the new route, it said more connection services are needed among Gimpo, Haneda and Hongqiao airports to make regional travel really smooth.
"It has become a trend for travelers to take multi-destination trips," said association secretary-general Roget Hsu. "We need to work more closely with these cities to provide greater accessibility."
(By Lee Hsin-Yin)