Taipei’s Songshan Airport is becoming increasingly important giving home to more and more regional flights and, after a face-lift, it will be positioned as a commercial airport for business travellers.
The domestic airport is upgrading to international status with direct flights between Songshan and Hongqiao Airport in Shanghai, which started on Monday; and the already approved non-stop flights to Tokyo’s Haneda Airport starting from October 31.
There are also plans to connect Songshan with Seoul’s Gimpo Airport in the near future.
Taiwanese carriers now operate 14 weekly flights between Songshan and Hongqiao with China Airlines and Eva Airways operating six each and TransAsia Airways operating two. China Eastern Airlines is the only mainland carrier operating another 14 weekly flights on the route.
The flight-time is 90 minutes, which is the same as that on the existing route between Taipei’s Taoyuan and Shanghai’s Pudong airports. However, both airports are close to the cities’ commercial centres and this means about two hours’ savings in commuting time.
In spite of the steep prices (the cheapest being TransAsia with a NT$13,700/US$423 round-trip fare until the end of June) all the flights are booked up, and airline executives called on the government to negotiate doubling the number of flights when they meet with mainland officials again in October. The number is expected to increase to 18 in October and 24 next year.
Presently, the airport can only handle single aisle aircraft, but it is being upgraded in response to the growing traffic and after the first phase of renovations is completed in October, it will be able to handle Airbus A330 and other double-aisle aircraft. The second and third phases will be completed in March and October next year.