Taoyuan City Mayor Cheng Wen-tsan attended the Webinar on Pandemic Response in Indo-Pacific Airport Cities today, jointly organized by Taoyuan City Government and CityNet, where Mayor Cheng shared Taoyuan’s pandemic prevention experience with Yim Geun-hyeong, CEO of CityNet, Ruwan Wijayamuni, Chief Medical Officer at the City of Colombo, Lee Sang-wook, Chief of Aviation Industry at the Aviation Division, Incheon Metropolitan City Government, as well as eight CityNet members across South Korea, Japan, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, the Philippines, Bangladesh, and Mongolia. Jerry Dann, President and CEO of Taoyuan International Airport Corporation, was also invited to share the pandemic response at the airport.
“Taoyuan, with a population of 2.27 million, is the gateway to Taiwan and a critical link to the world,” said Mayor Cheng. As a member of CityNet, SCI, ICF, ICLEI, and AFHC, Taoyuan has been actively involved in city diplomacy through international engagement in recent years. Currently, Taoyuan has 30 sister cities, including Incheon, which was also present today, and Chiba, two major airport cities in Asia.
“The cargo volume of Taoyuan International Airport was ranked 4th in the world in 2020. Given that the airport’s revenue has dropped substantially because of the pandemic, Taiwan’s government has appropriated NT$8.074 billion to subsidize the airport and related industries. Despite the pandemic, its cargo volume continues to rise, which in turn contributes to Taiwan’s growing export and economy,” Mayor Cheng mentioned.
“In the face of cluster infection in January this year, including the recent breakthrough infections of pilots with the Delta variant, Taoyuan has responded timely and conducted precise investigations to curb the spread of the virus. Shouldering the responsibility for blocking COVID-19 at the front line, Taoyuan will continue to control the pandemic at the border, prevent community spread, and increase vaccination rate,” said Mayor Cheng. Currently, the vaccination coverage is over 40% in Taoyuan. It is hoped that herd immunity can be achieved with increasing vaccination coverage. Taoyuan will continue to offer friendly vaccination services and carry out technology-enabled investigations.
Looking into the future, Mayor Cheng stated, “Airports and cities will continue to live in symbiosis. A variety of projects at Taoyuan Aerotropolis are being developed. It is believed that cities will weather the pandemic, and airports will restore the vitality and gradually open up while following the pandemic prevention guidelines. In addition, to support different sectors to overcome the challenges, Taoyuan has launched 10 relief measures and will roll out the “6+1” stimulus program along with the quintuple stimulus voucher to be issued by the central government to speed up the economic recovery of the hardest-hit industries.”
“Taoyuan International Airport, as the hub of Taiwan’s air transportation, not only transports passengers and cargo but also serves as an important aircraft maintenance base in the world. In the face of severe pandemic worldwide, Taoyuan International Airport guards the national gate with the highest standard. To prevent infection by inbound travelers, the Airport Corporation keeps improving its pandemic prevention measures. In addition to rigorous cleaning and disinfection, arrival flow rerouting, and general screening for inbound travelers, it also introduced technologies to ensure the health of passengers and staff,” Jerry Dann, President and CEO of Taoyuan International Airport Corporation stated.
Ruwan Wijayamuni, Chief Medical Officer at the City of Colombo, pointed out that impacted by the Delta variant, the City of Colombo has responded with four measures—identification, isolation, immunization, and impairment rehabilitation. It also strictly enforces cleaning and disinfection as well as monitoring and contact tracing. Meanwhile, the City of Colombo has been placed under curfew following its national policy and working with the health authorities to increase vaccination rate and effectively contain the pandemic. The exchange with Taoyuan and Incheon on pandemic response has benefited the City of Colombo a lot, which will adjust its pandemic prevention policy on a rolling basis.
“Incheon, home to Incheon International Airport and Incheon Port, has been heavily affected by the pandemic as well, especially its aviation industry. However, its industrial activities and international freight have grown. Several airlines have been merged, and the airport expansion is well underway,” said Lee Sang-wook, Chief of Aviation Industry at the Aviation Division, Incheon Metropolitan City Government. Korea government has allocated four trillion KRW as part of its relief program to subsidize businesses and exempt the usage fees of airport facilities. In the post-pandemic era, Incheon endeavors to create new job opportunities in the aviation industry, develop urban air mobility (UAM) by 2025, which combines the automotive and aviation industry, and enable technology upgrade in the existing manufacturing sector.
In his opening remarks, Yim Geun-hyeong, CEO of CityNet, said, “Taoyuan has been an active member of CityNet, and that CityNet was very pleased to co-organize the webinar with Taoyuan City Government. The COVID-19 pandemic has a significant bearing on the aviation industry and urban development. Through exchange at today’s webinar, cities were able to share their experience in pandemic prevention and learn from each other. In the future, CityNet will continue to provide a platform to enable such exchange of ideas, and it is hoped that we can get through the pandemic as soon as possible.”