Taiwan Reopens Taoyuan Airport to Transit Passengers

Customers of three Asian carriers are accepted under the new measure, which took effect just yesterday.

A bird’s-eye view of Taipei’s Xinyi financial district. (Photo: GoranQ/iStock)

Almost exactly three months after imposing a blanket ban on transit travel, Taiwan has lifted restrictions for certain airlines running connecting flights at its main airport. National carrier China Airlines and its main rival Eva Air are among the eligible companies; so far, the only non-Taiwanese airline permitted to operate transit services under the policy is Hong Kong’s Cathay Pacific. Mirroring the temporary regulations on layovers at Singapore Changi Airport, travelers will only be allowed to transit in Taoyuan if the connecting flights are operated by the same airline group. As an extra precaution, the stopover time must not exceed eight hours.

Chen Tsung-yen, the deputy head of Taiwan’s Central Epidemic Command Center, announced the new measure at a press conference on Wednesday. He added that passengers from mainland China would be prohibited from transiting in Taiwan, but those from Hong Kong and Macau could pass through Taoyuan Airport. In a statement posted online the same day, the Taiwan Centers for Disease Control said that applications by other airline companies would be reviewed on an individual basis, with decisions made according to the health situation in their countries or regions of origin.

The same statement explained that those transiting in Taoyuan would be kept separate from regular passengers after disembarkation and guided down pre-planned routes into specific waiting zones, where “meal arrangements and shopping activity of transit passengers will be monitored by designated airport personnel.” This means that it will be possible to visit duty-free shops with a chaperone, and have food delivered from restaurants elsewhere in the terminal. A contingency plan for flight delays and sick passengers has also been drawn up, though the Taiwan Centers for Disease Control did not provide specific details.

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