Kaohsiung International Airport (traditional Chinese: officially, 高雄國際航空站; commonly, 高雄國際機場) (IATA: KHH, ICAO: RCKH), also known as Kaohsiung Siaogang Airport (traditional Chinese: 高雄小港機場) for the Siaogang District where it is located, is a medium-sized commercial airport located in Kaohsiung City, Taiwan. Kaohsiung International Airport is the second-largest airport in Taiwan in terms of passenger movement and accounts for around 15% of international passenger movements in Taiwan.
Originally built as a military airport by the Japanese during the Taiwan under Japanese rule era, Kaohsiung Airport retained its military purpose when the Republic of China government just took control of Taiwan. Due to the need for civil transportation in southern Taiwan, it was demilitarized and converted into a domestic civil airport in 1965, and further upgraded to international airport in 1969, with regular international flights starting in 1972.
During 1970s and 1980s, this airport's international flights were rare, with Hong Kong and Tokyo being the only two destinations. Since early 1990s, the dedicated connection flights to Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport were inaugurated and this brought southern Taiwan travelers much convenience; they can transit via the Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport where there is a higher availability of international flights. Meantime, direct flights to South-east Asia cities were also gradually opened. This reduced the inconvenience that travelers in southern Taiwan needed to travel to the northern Taoyuan then flew south. These contributed to a steady growth in airport passenger/flight movements and a new terminal dedicated to international flights was opened in 1997.
In summer 1998, EVA Air opened a direct flight from Kaohsiung to Los Angeles but it was discontinued only three months later due to low ridership. Northwest Airlines also served this airport, operating from Kansai Airport (1999~2001) and Narita Airport (2002~2003). These two routes were separately suspended due to the low load factor caused by the September 11, 2001 attacks and SARS.
After the Taiwan High Speed Rail's inauguration in January 2007, the Kaohsiung airport suffered great losses in passenger/flight movements; the Taiwan High Speed Rail and record-high costs of jet fuel are eating up most load factors to Taipei Songshan Airport and Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport (frequent buses link the Taoyuan Airport and the THSR Taoyuan Station). Some carriers dropped the two routes while other carriers reduced flights. Carriers now pin their hopes on the increasing flights to Japan, Mainland China and Korea.
Kaohsiung International Airport has two terminals - domestic and international. They are connected by corridor way.
The domestic terminal was built in 1965 when the airport was first opened as a civilian airport. Through the years, it has undergone numerous small expansions and improvements, but jet bridges were never added. For the most part, this is acceptable since the domestic terminal primarily serves smaller planes that do not require the use of jet bridges. The current domestic-terminal building also served international flights before the opening of the new international terminal in 1997.
The international terminal opened in 1997 and all gates have jet bridges. It serves all international flights and connecting flights to Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport. Connecting passengers proceed through immigration in Kaohsiung and do not need to repeat the procedure in Taoyuan, avoiding congestions in Taoyuan and saving much time between flights. Like many modern airport terminals, the building has a high ceiling in the check-in area and its exterior uses glass panels extensively. The floor area for the international terminal is three times more than that of the domestic terminal.
Airlines and destinations
International Charter Flights
Both China Airlines and Uni Air operate charter flights from Kaohsiung to many Japanese cities including Asahigawa, Hakodate, Sapporo, Hanamaki, Obihiro, Nagasaki and Kumamoto, mostly during long vacations.
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