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Taiwan 'aerotropolis' plan buoyed by Chinese tourists

Published on Feb 23, 2014 12:15 PM

TAIPEI (AFP) - Taiwan's ambitions to become a regional air hub finally look set to take off with approval for a mega "aerotropolis" to cash in on improving ties with China and the rise of budget airlines in the region.

The ambitious plan to transform the main Taoyuan International Airport into a regional aviation centre is tipped to attract more than US$16 billion (S$20.1 billion) in investment for the island's biggest infrastructure project in more than three decades.

Covering nearly 7,000 hectares, the "aerotropolis" will include a free trade zone, a third terminal at the airport and an industrial park to house goods-distribution and aviation-related industries.

First mooted in the booming 1990s by the then Kuomintang government, the project stalled after elections in 2000 when the Democratic Progressive Party ended the KMT's 51-year grip on power.

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